Pride Month is dedicated to celebrating and uplifting the LGBTQI+ community, and while the world raises awareness of the struggles facing this community, tensions are continuing to rise.
According to IOL, a 27-year-old lesbian was attacked by men in Strand, Cape Town on Saturday night while she was walking home.
“If it was a robbery, they would have taken my belongings but they only assaulted me and kept on saying I must stop what I am doing. I thought they would rape me during the attack but luckily they did not.
“My family does not know that I am a lesbian, I have tried coming out but it is difficult when you do not know if you will be accepted or judged. I hide myself, only my close friends know my sexuality,” she says.
IOL reports that the woman, who said that she was attacked because of her sexuality, justifies why she has chosen not to report the incident: “These people know me, it is obvious. They might come back to kill me. Many of us have died at the hands of men who wanted to ’correct’ us.”
18-year-old Simphiwe Mkhize, whose story is one of the many cases of discrimination against people who form part of the LGBTQI+ community, was forced to drop out of school in Tongaat, Durban after suffering through endless fights with students who insulted him because he is gay, Sowetan Live explains.
“I couldn’t take it any more. They often picked on me. Some of the insults I let go, but others I returned and this led to fights.
“I can say my life is hell because of people who don’t want to accept me the way I am. I did not choose to be what I am. It is a difficult existence if you have to fight and argue every day just to be what you are,” he said.
Mkhize received such extreme backlash, even from his own neighbours, that he was forced to flee to a shack settlement where he now lives with his mother, Sowetan Live adds.
Meanwhile, Hoërskool DF Malan has been in hot water after rejecting the request of enthusiastic students who wished to commemorate Pride Month on Monday. When these students proceeded to stage a ‘Pride’ sit-in during their interval, they were allegedly subjected to hate speech.
However, on Thursday, MEC Debbie Schafer addressed the allegations of discrimination against LGBTQI+ students at DF Malan High School:
“I am deeply concerned by the allegations of discrimination against LGBTQI+ learners at DF Malan High School, which we were alerted to yesterday.
Such behaviour has absolutely no place in our schools. An investigation by the district is currently underway to establish the full facts of the matter, and we await the outcome thereof.
We will work with the school to ensure that such incidents are not repeated in future. The WCED is committed to ensuring that our schools are inclusive spaces, where values of equality and non-discrimination are upheld. We expect our schools to take active steps to promote such an environment,” she concluded.
The principal, Sias Conradie, and the school governing body (SGB) have, however, issued a public apology for its handling of an allegedly homophobic altercation between pupils at the school, News24 reports.