I often go on and on about how amazing our Constitution is. I brag to my friends from other countries that it is one of the most progressive and liberal documents in the world. It protects us from all sorts of discrimination. Wonderful.

And even better when we get to see it protecting minority groups in action, which I hope will be the case when (not if, when) a gay rights group calls on the protection the Constitution affords homosexuals in Section 9 (3).

What I’m talking about is the most recent gay hate speech from “journalist” Jon Qwelane of the Sunday Sun.

For those of you who missed out on Josef Goebels…sorry…Jon Qwelane’s last column let me give you the abridged version. Qwelane believes:

1) Robert Mugabe’s standpoint on Gays is spot on.

2) Liberals and Gays are responsible for the degradation of decent society.

3) Gays are against the “natural order”.

4) Someday the SA constitution will be written to exclude gays.

5) If gays are allowed to marry, then soon humans will be allowed to marry animals.

I’m stunned that a South African newspaper could print this, given our country’s history of oppression. But clearly neither the Sunday Sun or Mr. Qwelane have made the connection that ANY form of discrimination is wrong. Just as Mr. Qwelane was born black so too are people born gay.

Maybe he should have a conversation with Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, who agrees with most modern queer theory, that people are in fact born gay. Perhaps Mr. Qwelane should think back to the struggle days, when people hated him simply for being black, and maybe then Mr. Qwelane will hopefully make those connections.

People always debate the fine line between hate speech and freedom of speech. I’d definitely have to say that being on the receiving end of Mr. Qwelane’s vitriol I can guarantee you that his article was the former.

Equating homosexuality to bestiality is so nonsensical and very obviously meant to play on people’s fears. What Mr. Qwelane fails to mention is that gay marriage is between two CONSENTING ADULTS. I.e. any HUMANS over the age of 18. When was the last time Mr. Qwelane saw a billy goat at a gay pride march? Have you ever heard of any gay person petitioning courts to marry animals?

Perhaps Mr. Qwelane should look up the definition of homosexuality before he writes about the subject, because then he will clearly see it has nothing in common with bestiality. As a journalist, usually some research is required. Clearly not for Jon Qwelane.

“…he is shaping the minds of people who take his words and put them into action, directly translating into rapes and murders.”

And Mr. Qwelane is so quick to fight for the moral fibre of society. Clearly gay marriage and gays in church would rock the foundations of the planet because we all know how seriously straight people take marriage, with a more than 40% divorce rate in most developed countries.

I can see why Mr. Qwelane is so quick to try and protect an institution that heterosexuals are really achieving in. Yep, Britney Spear’s 24 hour marriages often make me think of the holiness of nuptials.

But on a more serious note, perhaps Mr. Qwelane should start thinking about the damage he is doing with his poison pen. Clearly as a “journalist” who must have done oodles of research on queer theory, he might have found the time to delve into the spate of homophobic violence that has spread throughout South Africa. Maybe he would have come across the name Madoe Mafubedu.

If he had actually done some research, he would have found out that she was a lesbian who was repeatedly raped and then stabbed to death. Why? Well, because she was a lesbian in a township, and it’s not “natural” (as Mr. Qwelane puts it) to be gay, so some men decided to “straighten her out”. Because raping a lesbian is of course a “natural” thing to do.

And maybe he should look up Zoliswa Nkonyana. She was also terribly “unnatural”. She was beaten to death with golf clubs and bricks by a gang of men who obviously wanted to teach her to be more “natural”.

And whilst he’s feverishly Googling, maybe he should look up Sizakele Sigasa and Salome Masooa, two lesbians who were found murdered next to a dumpsite in Soweto. Sigasa was found with her hands tied with her underpants at her ankles tied with her shoelaces, with three bullet holes in her head and three in her collarbone. Obviously someone had taken offence to their “unnatural” ways.

Or maybe Mr. Qwelane needs more high profile proof. How about Banyana Banyana player Eudy Simelane who was brutally gang-raped and then murdered? Clearly her fault for engaging in “unnatural” behaviour.

But it would seem that research is not Mr. Qwelane’s strong point. Instead he spouts the same old fear-based hatred. It’s articles like the one written by Jon Qwelane that add fuel to the homophobic fire.

His words at best legitimise, at worst promote more attacks on gays and lesbians. As far as I am concerned, he has blood on his hands. Mr. Qwelane needs to realise words have power. He may not be recognising it, but he is shaping the minds of people who take his words and put them into action, directly translating into rapes and murders.

And we cannot allow him to do so. We need to stand up for ourselves as a community. Write to your gay and lesbian advocacy groups, take it up with the Human Rights Commission (this is a prime example of why the Chapter 9 institution was formed in the first place). Write to the editor of the Sunday Sun. Write to Jon Qwelane himself and tell him your story, and how words like his have affected you.

Do all or any of the above, but for God’s sake, don’t just sit there and do nothing. Because if you do, there will be blood on your hands too.

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