Cape Town Pride is hosting a lunchtime protest against Jon Qwelane’s homophobic article, described by Pride Chairperson Ian McMahon as an “attack on both the constitutional and basic human rights of gay people.”

The event starts at 1pm and runs until 2pm on Friday 25 July. It will take place outside the Media24 building (across the road from the Cape Town International Convention Centre) in the city centre.

Media24 is the media group that owns The Sunday Sun, the newspaper which published the column over the weekend.

McMahon has called on Cape Town’s LGBT community to take part, saying: “Make a stand against homophobia and prejudice. Bring your friends and family. Stand up for your rights! We need community support.”

The protest action will include handing a petition to the Managing Director of Media24 calling on the group’s editors to be sensitised to issues related to hate speech and prejudice, particularly homoprejudice, and demanding a retraction of the article and a written apology to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.

McMahon has asked protestors to abide by the conditions set by the South African Police Service, namely that participants only protest on the grass bank opposite the building, and that the protest end by 2pm.

A demonstration will also be taking place in Johannesburg on Tuesday 29 July outside Media24’s offices at Media Park, 69 Kingsway, Auckland Park.

The protest against “the disgusting homophobia of Jon Qwelane as well as the shocking complicity of the Sunday Sun in choosing to publish and promote it,” is set to take place between 2 and 3 pm.

The organiser, Michael Smolinsky, has urged LGBT Joburgers and their friends and supporters to take part:

“Take an hour out of your day to be there, or take your lunch hour off. Help make the Sunday Sun fully aware of its constitutional obligations as we demand a retraction of the article and a commitment never to allow such blatant hatred to emanate from its auspices again!”

The event is being organised together with the Joint Working Group which is drawing up a memorandum that will be handed to a representative from Media 24 / Sunday Sun on the day. Go to the Facebook event page.

Qwelane’s July 20 article, titled Call me names, but gay is NOT okay…, equated homosexuality with bestiality, praised Robert Mugabe’s oppression of gays and lesbians and encouraged the removal of the sexual-orientation clause from the constitution.

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