Justice Edwin Cameron

Constitutional Court Judge Edwin Cameron will be one of the high-profile speakers at a discussion on the gap between LGBTI rights and everyday reality, hosted by the Helen Suzman Foundation.

The Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF) and the Open Society Foundation For South Africa will hold the discussion on “Bridging the Gap between Constitutional Rights and Homophobic Realities” at the Johannesburg Country Club in Auckland Park on Monday 26 September at 6pm.

The HSF said that it believes that “issues around homophobia – in particular violent hate crimes such as ‘corrective’ rape and even murder – represent an immediate threat both to the safety and human rights of many people in South Africa and to the values of the Constitution”.

The panel for the event includes Francis Antonie – Director of the Helen Suzman Foundation; Chair Andries Nel, MP – Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development; Justice Edwin Cameron – Justice of the Constitutional Court; Eusebius McKaiser – Helen Suzman Foundation Research Fellow; and Ndumie Funda – Founder and Director of Luleki Sizwe.

The HSF’s Lewis Mash noted that South Africa’s Constitution is one of the most liberal and inclusive in the world – encompassing the protection of people from discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation – and that a number of gay rights victories have been achieved.

“The lived reality for many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people in South Africa, however, belies our progressive jurisprudence,” said Mash. “Particularly shocking is the violence inflicted on young, black, lesbian women in the form of so-called ‘corrective’ rape and even murder.”

The panellists at the roundtable discussion will deal with the following issues:

• Is there a gap between the rights guaranteed in our Constitution and the everyday experiences of LGBTI people?

• What does this gap say about our society?

• What strategies, both by civil society and the state, are available to remedy this situation?

The Helen Suzman Foundation was founded in 1993 with a mandate of promoting liberal constitutional democracy and human rights. Past Roundtables have included discussions on South African Identity, Sport and Nation Building, Overcoming Xenophobia, and most recently Funding the Arts.


Date: Monday 26 September

Time: 18:00 to 20:00

Venue: Rainbow Room Johannesburg Country Club 1 Napier Road Auckland Park.

Refreshments will be served after the event.

To RSVP: contact Lewis Mash lewis@hsf.org.za.

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