Research Reveals Extent of Homo/bi/transphobia in South Africa

progressive-prudes

A Survey conducted in South Africa reveals that – although attitudes are improving – there is still prejudice and discrimination against LGBT people in South Africa. Only 51% of those surveyed thought that LGBT people should have the same human rights as heterosexual/cisgender people and 23% were still strongly opposed to same-sex marriage. The most disturbing statistic, however, is that 450,000 South Africans admit to having physically harmed women who ‘dress and behave like men in public’ in the last 12 months. This is particularly disturbing in a country where the hate crime of ‘corrective rape’ is widely practised.

Corrective rape is a symptom of the toxic gender inequality and homophobic attitudes, according to freelance journalist Lydia Smith in an article from the Telegraph published in 2015. The project co-ordinator for the Forum for the Empowerment of Women, Dikeledi Sibanda, speaking at the LGBT History Month launch at Twickenham in 2011, asserted that in many townships men perceive women who look and behave like men as a threat to their masculinity.

Smith’s article also reveals that 40% of South African women are  expected to be raped at least once in their lifetime but rape is massively underreported and the police rarely investigate when it is. Furthermore, despite the implications of the epithet ‘corrective’ many attacks end in deliberate murder or physical injuries that prove fatal.

The Survey is called Progressive Prudes, and was conducted by the The Other Foundation. According to the City Press, the survey shows that the South African constitution is ‘ahead of’ attitudes towards LGBT people. The article can be found here