Charl van den Berg
(Pic: Melissa Delport Photography)
Charl van den Berg, the current Mr Gay South Africa and Mr Gay World, has officially backed OUT, the Gauteng-based LGBT organisation celebrating its 15th birthday this week, in a letter of support:
I must admit, writing this letter of support to OUT, took me quite some time. I knew OUT was about offering direct Health and Mental Health services to the LGBTI community, but upon doing my research and reading up about just exactly what their involvement was, I knew that a simple ‘thanks’ would not suffice.
I have to date not come across an organisation that is so fully dedicated to helping the LGBTI community, in ALL its facets, needs and concerns, as OUT is.
With their involvement in the advocacy of the LGBTI community in the realm of equality in SA, OUT has shown that they truly stand as representatives of the entire community. They are a presence to the general public and an organisation which stands firm in its beliefs and serves to protect the rights of its community.
With regards to work on grassroots level, OUT has proven to be a forerunner when it comes to research on the Health and Well-being of the LGBTI community with projects such as the distribution of HIV prevention methods, educational tools such as pamphlets, flyers and open days, as well as also offering support groups and counselling (both via web, telephonic or personal) to members of the LGBTI public.
Along with this they offer comprehensive treatment at their PRISM Lifestyle Centre where services such as HIV testing, counselling and general physical examinations are conducted by trained and friendly staff.
As Mr Gay South Africa 2009/Mr Gay World 2010, it truly is an honour to be associated with OUT. As the nature of my work is on a global scale, it is not always easy to touch base on ground level as much as I would like and I am grateful to organisations such as OUT for their ability to reach out to the community in such a fantastic manner.
On behalf of the Mr Gay South Africa and Mr Gay World organisations I would like to congratulate OUT on their incredible service to the LGBTI community over the past fifteen years and wish them luck in their future endeavours!
Happy birthday and may the next fifteen years be even more successful than the last!
Van den Berg was crowned Mr Gay World in Oslo in February after winning the South Africa title in November 2009.
He will be attended OUT’s 15th Anniversary Gala Dinner this coming Friday, with guest of honour, the Minister of Health, Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi. For more information on the event, visit the Facebook event page.