South Africa: LGBT community still faces high levels of violence

A report has found that black LGBT South Africans face the highest risk of violence while the Western Cape is the most “out’ province in the country.

We’re queer and we’re here! is the declarative title of a new report on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) South Africans which reveals that while tolerance is rising, being part of this at least 800 000-strong community often comes at devastating, sometimes fatal, cost.

A staggering four out of ten LGBT South Africans know of someone who has been murdered “for being or suspected of being” lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

Black members of this community are twice as likely (49%) as white respondents (26%) to know of someone who was murdered on these grounds.

The research, drawing on a range of sources, is contained in the latest monthly edition of Fast Facts released today by the Centre for Risk Analysis at the South African Institute of Race Relations (IRR).

It shows that only half of black LGBT people are completely open about their sexuality.

IRR analyst and author of the report, Gerbrandt van Heerden, writes: “Black LGBT people are more likely to be victims of physical violence than those in the other race groups – this could possibly add to the reluctance by many to reveal their sexuality.”

The fear associated with “coming out” suggests that the tally of nearly 800 000 South Africans who identify as members of the LGBT community is “most certainly an undercount”.

The report acknowledges “a growing trend” of tolerance and “open-mindedness”. A majority of South Africans support constitutional protections for LGBT people and display high levels of tolerance for their gay neighbours, while, across Africa, younger and better-educated people are increasingly tolerant.

The research also touches on the under-researched but likely significant economic impact of the LGBT community’s purchasing power, the so-called “Pink Rand”. Read more via Mamba Online