A new report highlighting the status of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) people in South Africa’s North-West province has been released.

Entitled “Same-sex sexuality in North-West province”, the report presents the results of a survey conducted under the auspices of the UNISA Centre for Applied Psychology during 2009 and 2010.

OUT LGBT Well-being, OUT North-West and Gay Umbrella also collaborated in the study.

The report breaks new ground by looking at 319 LGBT people from a largely rural background in one of the country’s poorest and most under-populated provinces.

The people who took part in the survey were asked about their experiences and feelings about a number of key areas. These included:

Orientation and gender; Openness about Same-Sex Sexuality and LGBT Integration; How LGBT Persons Perceive their Environment; Sexual Abuse and Discrimination and Violence; HIV Testing; Knowledge of LGBT Rights and Mental Health and Suicidality.

The intention was to assess the needs of the province’s LGBT people in order to better design and implement appropriate policies that would be of benefit to this community.

Interestingly, the reports found that the coming out experience of black participants was more often positive than that of white participants. Findings also included a relatively low rate of sexual abuse, rape and discrimination and violence.

However, individuals who are, young black and gender non-conforming tended to have more negative experience. This was also the case among bisexual participants.

Traditional leaders and religious belief systems were found to play a key role in LGBT people’s experiences and perceptions about themselves.

While most people surveyed were aware that they had rights under the Constitution, there was some level of confusion as to exactly what these rights were and how to use them.

“Now is the time to step forward and become actively involved in addressing the aspects raised in this report,” said the study’s author, Hendrik Baird from OUT North West.

“It is imperative that this emerging LGBT community receive the attention it deserves in the form of proper policies that would be of benefit to the greater LGBT community and prevention programmes that would be of use to specific LGBT individuals on a large scale throughout the NWP – and possibly even beyond the borders of the province,” he added.

To download the full report (PDF – 2mb) visit

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