(Left to right) Anthony Waldhausen: Gay & Lesbian Network,
Mr. Jacques Lapouge: French Ambassador to SA and Desmond
Lejenane: Sonke Gender Justice Network

Pietermaritzburg’s Gay & Lesbian Network received a special distinction award from the French government for its work in the human rights field at a function in Pretoria on Tuesday.

The event was hosted by the French Ambassador, Mr Jacques Lapouge, at the ambassador’s official residence. The award included a medal and certificate.

The distinction was granted in recognition of the Gay & Lesbian Network’s work and active involvement in supporting the advancement of human rights in South Africa, especially with regard to sexual orientation and gender.

The Network submitted an application for the 2011 Human Rights Prize of the French Republic. Although the Network didn’t win the main prize it was bestowed a special distinction, which was awarded to six other organisations worldwide, two of which are South African.

The other South African organisation that was honoured was the Sonke Gender Justice Network.

“It’s an honour and privilege to have received this award and recognition and I would like to acknowledge staff, volunteers, EXCO and our partners who work passionately to realising the Network’s vision,” said Anthony Waldhausen, Director of the Gay & Lesbian Network.

Founded in 2003, the Gay & Lesbian Network is a registered non profit organisation based in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal that offers a support line, support groups, social events, a resource centre and other services to the local LGBT community.

“I would like to dedicate this award to all gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex people worldwide who face on-going discrimination, persecution and even murder. We will endure with the struggle and are with you all, each day of your life in the hope that this scourge of homophobia is eliminated from the face of the earth,” said Waldhausen.

Founded in 1988, the Human Rights Prize of the French Republic rewards human rights defenders around the world for their action on the ground.

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