SEXUALITY: A NEGLECTED FORM OF RECOGNITION
By: Bliss Ndapasowa
Globally, race has become the supreme form of identification.
Political leaders and academic institutions have aligned themselves with initiatives that seek to strike equality amongst races; emphasizing the idea as fundamental in social growth.
This was an observation shared by a University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Senior lecturer in the College of Humanities, Doctor Thabo Msibi, at a seminar organized by the Durban University of Technology’s Student Counseling and Health Department and the International Centre of Non-violence, in collaboration with the DUT Gay and Lesbian Society at Steve Biko campus.
His topic being ‘Queering Transformation in Higher Education’, Msibi delivered a presentation centered upon the conversion of higher education institutions into homosexual–friendly environments.
The seminar, a part of preparations for the Shadows in the Rainbow launch, highlighted fundamental issues that included reasons behind homophobia, problems encountered by the community and possible methods that could be implemented to address the deficiency.
Dr Msibi pointed out that race has become a synonym for transformation in universities. He reiterated that race overrides other elements of identification that include gender and sex.
“The fight for equality is a race-only driven agenda, thus neglecting other fundamental aspects of identification such as sexuality, leading to the heightening of homophobia,” he said.
He further mentioned that one of the biggest problems perpetuating homophobic discrimination is that sex work is perceived as ‘dirty work’ and regarded as less imperative because it affects less than 10% of the country’s population.
He therefore suggested that transformation should not be exclusively geared towards students, but the society at large because at the heart of homophobia lies deep roots of patriarchy, especially in the instance of men. He cited that age, gender and sexuality are interconnected as aspects of bigotry, hence the need to address them equally.
DUT Student Counseling and Health Senior Psychologist Sihle Mbanjwa stated that homophobia is also a result of a ‘set of ideas’ of who we should be in terms of gender, sex and our roles in society.
“As a department we aim to normalize what is deemed abnormal,” he said.
One of the organisers of the seminar, Ndumiso Ngidi said that the discussion was part of the bigger picture of transformation within the institution.