Cape Town’s Triangle Project has responded to National Police Commissioner Jackie Selebi’s statement that there may be a need for separate cells for gay and lesbian prisoners.

Talking to MPs on Friday last week, Selebi said that some gay prisoners have been demanding to be placed in cells with other gay inmates.

“When police take a person to a male cell, we run into problems because he would then argue that ‘I want to go to the female cell’ and when he gets to the female cell the females would say ‘we’re not having this one here,’” said Selebi.

In a statement released today, Triangle Project argues that instead of perpetuating discrimination against already marginalised sexual minority groups, the state needs to assume responsibility for the safety of all people held in police stations and interned in our prisons.

“Instead of focusing attention on gay and lesbian people, the Commissioner should be exploring ways in which the SAPS can guarantee all citizen’s safety whilst in a holding cell or in police custody,” said Glenn de Swardt of Triangle Project. “Nobody should be exposed to any form of intimidation, abuse or violence whilst being detained by the State,” he said.

Triangle Project added that it is available to explore issues related to sexual minority groups with the SAPS. “We’re offering sensitivity seminars and workshops on issues of sexuality, which we hope would lessen their problems when dealing with gay and lesbian people,” said Vista Kalipa, Media Coordinator for Triangle Project.

Triangle Project is the oldest gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender services organisation in Africa.

Get the Mamba Newsletter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Send this to a friend