Lesbian and gay people in Tshwane demand police protection

Vigilance and protection demanded for lesbian and gay people against hate based rape, assault and intimidation

December 08, 2006

OUT Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender (LGBT) Wellbeing in partnership with other stakeholders will be picketing outside Brooklyn Police Station on the 10th of December 2006 from 10h30 – 11h45. It is to mark the International Human Rights Day, and the last day of the 16 days of activism on no violence against women campaign. OUT will submit a memorandum of demands including training of SAPS Brooklyn on sexual diversity, effective investigation and handling of hate crime cases against LGBT people, more effective policing of LGBT hate crime hot spots in Tshwane like Mackie Street and to stop invasion of safe spaces where lesbian and gay people gather. OUT believes that the Police needs to focus it scarce resources on areas and places where there is threat of violence and not on safe spaces designed for groups that are already marginalized and prejudiced.

The 16 days of activism marks the period to create awareness on violence against women in society. Amidst all the high profile campaign work, LGBT people continue to be harassed with very little attention is given to this. OUT has knowledge of various violent incidents at Mackie Street in Brooklyn. Yet, SAPS Brooklyn has refused to work with the organisation to more effectively address these. Gay men are also victims of violence and the Police need to be equipped in effectively dealing with this. SAPS Brooklyn is seemingly not managing to lessen crime in Mackie Street but at the same time, choose to raid safe spaces where LGBT people gather.

Lesbian women also continue to be assaulted because they are women and lesbian. Mapaseka Letsike, a lesbian woman, a hate crime survivor, an activist and in a learnership with OUT, stated that violence against lesbian women is traumatic to the body, mind and the spirit, and it can prevent lesbian women from being full participants at home and in the world, "At the age of 15, I was raped by a family friend and fell pregnant. This occurrence was based on the fact that I am a lesbian and in love with other women. I felt hated and severely violated in everyway, body, spirit and mind".

Mapaseka continues "I am a survivor, a feminist, a lesbian woman and an activist. I will not become a victim for other beings, I repeat Stop violence!!. The picket at Brooklyn Police Station on the 10th of December 2006 will help me believe that we are making a good start'.

OUT LGBT Wellbeing is a non-profit making organization looking out for the well being and human rights of lesbian and gay people in Tshwane. The organization seeks to eradicate heterosexism and homophobia in society through direct services, research, mainstreaming and advocacy.

For further enquiries kindly contact Fikile Vilakazi @ Tel: 012 344 5108, Fax: 012 344 6501, Mobile: 083 294 9720, e-mail: advocacy@out.org.zaIssued by OUT

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