Commemorating International Day against Homophobia, Government has called on citizens to play their part to ensure the safety of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex (LGBTQI+) community.
“We call on all sectors of society to oppose any form of violence committed against LGBTQI+ persons,” Acting Minister in the Presidency, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, said.
The call comes as South Africa joins the rest of the world in commemorating the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia under the theme, ’Together: Resisting, Supporting and Healing’.
In 1990, on this day, the World Health Organisation (WHO) took a firm stand to remove homosexuality from the International Classification of Diseases, opening a gateway to equal rights and inclusion.
The South African Constitution, which celebrates its 25-year anniversary this year, provides for equal rights to all who live in South Africa.
Ntshavheni said the Bill of Rights reaffirms that the State may not unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone, irrespective of race, gender, marital status, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion or cultural background.
“Government reaffirms its commitment to protect the rights of all who live in South Africa. Members of the LGBTI+ community are equally protected by the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa,” the Minister said.
She said the commemoration builds on existing measures to educate and raise awareness amongst the public.
“It is also used to reflect on progress that has been made by the National Task Team on Gender and Sexual Orientation Based Violence Perpetrated Against LGBTQI+ Persons, which was established to protect and address concerns of the LGBTQI+ community.”
As the day is commemorated, Ntshavheni said government will stop at nothing until the realisation of an equal society that protects lives and livelihoods of all, especially the most vulnerable members of society.
“The National Strategic Plan On Gender-Based Violence and Femicide remains relevant as a multi-sectoral, coherent strategic policy and programming framework that coordinates a national response to the crisis of gender-based violence and femicide, which also affects the LGBQTI+ community,” Ntshavheni said.
The Minister said government will continue to do all it can to provide a safe environment, particularly for the marginalised members of society, and create a conducive space to ensure their full economic participation in the development of the country.
“As society, we all have a responsibility to exercise tolerance and respect for each other,” Ntshavheni said.