History was made on 9th December when Gauteng Premier David Makhura joined forces with the LGBTI Community and The MEC of Health Ms Qedani Dorothy Mahlangu; Community Safety, Sizakele Khoza Malobane, Economic development, Lebogang Maile; Infrastructure development, Nandi Mayathula-Khoza and Education, Panyaza Lesufi. With Delegates of the LGBTI community arriving from all around Gauteng. The meeting was focused on issues that affect the LGBTI community as well discussing solutions with assistance from the Premier and his panel of MEC’s.
Premier Makhura presented a introduction of the Dialogue saying ” We live in a country were we have a Constitution as the supreme law of our land. The constitution guarantees human dignity, Equality and freedom to everyone of you. These three things i listed can not be taken away from you. Your rights are protected by the bill of rights and today we say your rights are human rights.” he adds that “The daily experience of the LGBTI is a tragic one. It is filled with crime and discrimination even in our churches were we are supposed to be equal in Gods eyes, built in the same image. You are discriminated.”
At the end of the Premiers speech five LGBTI Delegates were given an opportunity to tell the Premier What issues they face or come across and what they think needs to be done to solve the matters at hand. Listed are common issues that LGBTI community members experience on a daily basis:
- Police Discrimination
- Hate Crimes (Homophobia)
- Insensitive conduct from health facilities
- Restroom Functionality issues i.e One LGBTI member had policed called on her cause they claimed a man was in the ladies toilets.
- Public Discrimination
- Abuse from taxi drivers
- Only one day (Thursday) is set for gay marriages
The MEC’s were instructed to equally divide the LGBTI delegates amongst themselves and discuss the issues as well as possible solutions, With a speaker from every Group given 5 minutes to present their outlined solutions.
In conclusion the Premier stated that “We will establish a forum and desk for LGBTI in every department. Conduct research on poverty and unemployment that affect the LGBTI Community, for those students who passed with distinctions MEC Panyaza Lesufi will assist you with getting into Universities. He adds that “The MEC of Community Safety will advocate the LGBTI Community, organising regular meeting to update other Government Departments on proceedings. Gender Identity will be added into the school L.O curriculum’s to teach both Scholars and teachers about the different genders and training will also be provided for Departments to make them understand the different Genders.”
All the departments will be working hand in hand with the LGBTI Community. Outside the conference hall were Exhibition tents from different organisations that support LGBTI Community. Singing and Praises were given to the Premier by the LGBTI Community in appreciation for his support. The Follow up meeting for the Ntirhisano LGBTI Dialogue will take place next year and the focus will be on what the Departments have done thus far and what still needs to be done.