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Top 11 2011: Christina Engela's list of events concerning the LGBTI community

Christina Engela - 2011-12-15

This is a list of the top 11 events concerning to LGBTI people in SA in 2011. It has been compiled by Christina Engela, a trans-woman who lives in the sunny South African city of Port Elizabeth (known as the Windy City) – a tourist haven with an unhealthy preoccupation with apples and whose mascot symbol is a Jackass Penguin – which should give you some idea of what she has to deal with on a daily basis..


  1. The forced passing of the Secrecy Bill, despite country-wide protests and written objections from the public, NPOs, NGOs and political and civil society organisations. This threatens the availability of public information and will prevent human rights abuses from being effectively exposed and countered.

  2. The overturning of the long-awaited Equality Court conviction of homophobic former journalist and current High Commissioner to Uganda, Jon Qwelane, after a 4-year battle to bring the case to resolution.

  3. The soaring levels of so-called "corrective rape" of lesbians and trans people and overall intimidation and violence directed against the LGBTI community, and the apathy of the general public regarding this matter, as well as the inexcusable delays and unnecessary complications in these cases’ reaching a satisfactory conclusion in court.

  4. The involvement of SAPS members in cases of hate crime against LGBTI people, and the collaboration of their colleagues in intimidating victims who lay charges against them, or who refuse to open cases of hate crime on their behalf.

  5. The continued and repeated discrimination by Home Affairs officials against same-sex couples around the country applying for marriage licences; their failure in cases where these officials object to officiating same-sex marriages, to provide access to licenced marriage officers outside the department - and the absolute disregard for their dignity, feelings or civil rights by these officials.

  6. The continued use of homophobic slurs (such as "moffie") and the promotion of prejudice and homophobia being used by various smaller newspapers during 2011. The continued indifference towards LGBTI human and civil rights issues by the Press Ombudsman.

  7. The homophobic attack on Mr Gay Namibia last week, which has gone largely under-reported in South African media, and without comment by South African general human rights bodies, or foreign affairs officials, or even by the South African high commissioner to Namibia.

  8. The continued under-reporting on LGBTI issues in the media, which appears to behave largely as if their target audience is purely heterosexual and cis-gender.

  9. The continued failure by South Africa’s government to address publicly and openly issues of human rights affecting LGBTI people internationally as mandated in the South African Constitution, in all its dealings with other countries - and South Africa's continued support for human rights-abusing regimes and dictatorships which refuse to extend equality and human rights protections.

  10. South Africa's continued silence on LGBTI human rights issues in the UN and in issues of foreign policy and diplomacy. 

  11. Government is simply not doing enough to educate all South Africans, especially in rural and township environments, on issues surrounding homophobia and transphobia - so that they no longer fear or loathe people out of xenophobic tendencies resulting from continued ignorance.