Gays still face discrimination

Thabiso Chaka

Bloemfontein is more accepting and tolerant of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) communities that reside in the city, but the same can’t be said about other towns in the province.
This is according to Thabiso Chaka, a peer educator at Rainbow Seeds, an NGO in the province that advocates for the LGBTI community and provides other services such as HIV testing.
“With regards to some parts of Bloemfontein – your Rocklands and Bloemandas – there is that exposure and knowledge of the LGBTI community. People in those areas are more accepting and supportive of them, but in other areas like your Phase 3 to Phase 10, you find people discriminating against them because of a lack of understanding. To them, the LBGTI is a curious community and they are always wondering why are they behaving this way.”
He also added that the ongoing campaigns they have conducted in the areas mentioned, proved successful, with some gays and lesbians coming out and admitting their sexual orientation. They are also revealing that the areas they live in make it hard to disclose their sexual orientation due to the stigma attached to being gay or lesbian as well as other cultural and religious beliefs.
Rainbow Seeds will host a week-long Gay Pride event, themed “I Am Pride” from Tuesday 21 March until Saturday
25 March. The march will start at Hoffman Square at 11:00.
“During this week guests can look forward to LGBTI film screenings, mass dialogues with the community, a gala dinner as well as a march, which will be the main event, where the winners of Mr and Ms I AM Pride 2017 will be announced.”
According to Chaka this event aims to raise awareness about the ongoing struggle for the LGBTI community, challenge existing stereotypes about this community, educate those attending the daily meetings on their rights as well as teach community members how to foster tolerance and understanding towards the LGBTI community.
Transport will made available for people from Botshabelo, Thaba Nchu and Welkom. In Thaba Nchu, attendants can expect the bus to be at the KFC franchise in Main Street while those in Botshabelo can expect to be fetched at the Rea Hola Complex at 8:30.
For any enquiries regarding transport, call 078-556-1498. – Pulane Choane