WHO ARE WE TO DISCRIMINATE AGAINST HOMOSEXUALS?
By: Nompilo Kunene
Gay, faggots, moffies. Some say they are possessed by demons.
This is called homophobia. The dictionary defines homophobia as the unreasoning fear, dislike of, or discrimination against homosexuality, homosexuals or people who are identified or perceived as being lesbians, gays, bisexuals or transgender (LGBT). It can be expressed as hostility, dislike, bias, or hatred, may be based on foolish fear, and is sometimes related to religious beliefs.
On November 14, 2006 South Africa legalised same-sex marriage. South Africa was the fifth country in the world, and the first in Africa, to legalise same-sex marriage. Nevertheless, LGBT South Africans continue to face considerable challenges, including social stigma and homophobic violence.
For those who express their homosexuality, abuse from homophobes is their daily bread and there is just no way around it.
Thandanani Sibiya, a drama student shared how he experienced homophobic violence and how it changes his views.
“I use to hate gay people until I had to witness my lesbian friend been beaten up in a club by some random homophobe just because she was different. I hate homophobic people. If someone wants to live his or her own life this way, why would another person have a problem with this? It’s just stupid,” he said.
According to a psychology research paper by Iain R. Williamson, he claims gay and lesbian youth bear an increased risk of suicide, substance abuse, school problems, and isolation because of a hostile and condemning environment, verbal and physical abuse, rejection and isolation from family.
Siboniso Zulu, who is a PR student at DUT and proudly gay says he has accepted that people will discriminate against him but has learnt to deal with it.
“I get insults almost every day. It is not a nice feeling and as intended it does bring me down but I have learnt to live with it because there’s really nothing I can do or say to stop their nasty comments. People think it’s a decision or disease and can be cured but that’s all wrong. I was born this way and love myself for what I am,” he said.
In a survey asking the question; what do you think or feel about homophobic people (having hatred or fear of homosexuals)?
Mandisa Zuma said, “It’s just as bad as racism, hating on someone for something they cannot change. I personally believe that homosexual people aren’t homosexual by choice, whether they are demon possessed (as homophobes say) or it’s genetic, I still don’t think it is a choice they made. I think people who are homophobic still have a lot of growing up to do, spiritually, mentally and socially.”
“I personally think that some people have turned into animals, hating someone because of their sexuality is just inhumane and insane. Some people really need to grow up and mind their own business. They shouldn’t be punished for who or what God made them to be. People just need to realise that homosexuals are human just like every one of us, let God be the judge not us,” said Lizeka Maduna.
Like Nelson Mandela once said, “no one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”