International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOTB) Statement
The International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOTB) represents an annual landmark that seeks to draw attention to decision makers, the media, the public, though leaders to bring attention to the discrimination and violence LGBTQ persons still face, while also recognizing the advancements in achieving LGBTQ equality.
As we commemorate this day under the theme of “Justice and Protection” we take a moment to remember all those persons who could not be here today, like: Dana Martin a Black transgender woman killed in Montgomery, Alabama, on January 6 2019; Ashanti Carmon, 27, a Black transgender woman, was fatally shot in Prince George's County, Maryland, on March 30 and Ayanda Denge, a transgender activist and former acting chairperson of the Sex Worker Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT) who was fatally stabbed in her room in Kathrada House in Green Point, Cape Town. These are a few of the case that are known of, with majority of the cases going unreported. LGBTI persons face violence, intolerance with numerous injustices meted on them without their having a recourse as wider society does not recognise their existence.
The South African constitution was the first in the world to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation under Subsection 3 of the Equality Clause. The government has further enacted laws such as the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act (PEPUDA) and is in the process of finalising the Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill that will outlaw hate speech and hate crimes on the basis of among other gender identity. As we acknowledge the legal protections afforded to LGBTQ persons under the law, we also take time to take note of the discrimination, prejudice and stigma that the community faces. Individuals irrespective of gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, race or class deserve to enjoy the same level of freedom and access to human rights for all.
As we commemorate this day and reflect on the theme of ‘Justice and Protection’, Gender DynamiX stands in solidarity with individuals, organisations and millions of people worldwide who each day through their existence continue to challenge the ‘ascribed norms’. Society that says that you cannot exist unless you fit into the neat boxes of male and female and anyone that does not conform ends up being denied access to basic needs and services. As we reflect and commemorate IDAHOT, let us remember the overlapping dimensions of exclusion that LGBTQ persons face, and continue to advocate and create access to these spaces.
“…Laws alone cannot secure freedom of expression; in order that every person presents their views without penalty there must be a spirit of tolerance…” Aluta Continua