OUT has issued a statement claiming that Brooklyn police have refused to work with it to stop hate crimes against LGBT people in Tshwane.

OUT, in partnership with other stakeholders, will be picketing outside Brooklyn Police Station on Sunday in protest. The event will mark International Human Rights Day and the last day of the 16 days of activism campaign to end violence against women.

OUT will submit a memorandum of demands to Station Commissioner Director F.A Mthombeni insisting on the training of police officers 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 says that the police needs to focus its scarce resources on areas and places where there is threat of violence and not on safe spaces designed for groups that are already marginalised and prejudiced.

The statement adds that while the 16 days of activism campaign aims to create awareness of violence against women, LGBT people continue to be harassed with very little attention paid to the issue.

OUT claims that it has knowledge of violent incidents at Mackie Street in Brooklyn, yet it says that the Brooklyn police have refused to work with the organisation to more effectively address these incidents.

“Gay men are also victims of violence and the police needs 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, chooses to raid safe spaces where LGBT people gather,” reads the statement, referring to recent raids on gay nude bar, Camp David.

“Lesbian women also continue to be assaulted because they are women and lesbian”, says Fikile Vilakazi, OUT’s Advocacy Officer.

Mapaseka Letsike, a lesbian woman, hate crime survivor and activist says that, “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 adds that, “I will not become a victim for other beings. The picket at Brooklyn Police Station will help me believe that we are making a good start.”

The picket takes place on Sunday 10 December at the Brooklyn Police Station (corner Duncan and Duxberry road, Brooklyn, Pretoria) from 10h30 to 11h45. The community are urged to participate.

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