GAY GROUPS RALLY BEHIND WEEKEND PROTESTS

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Long-standing LGBT groups have come out in support of planned weekend protests to keep sexual orientation equality in the Constitution.

The protests are in reaction to the recent proposal by The House of Traditional Leaders to remove the term “sexual orientation” from the discrimination clause in the Constitution.

Events will take place in Johannesburg and Cape Town on May 19 and Durban and Port Elizabeth on May 20.

In KwaZulu-Natal, the Gay & Lesbian Network said that it will participate in the Durban protest, which has been moved from Saturday to Sunday for logistical reasons.

“We are supporting this protest in order to show our solidarity in protecting our Constitution from those who want to take us to the past as they live in the past,” said Anthony Waldhausen, Director of the Network. “We call on all the people of South Africa to support all initiatives to save the Constitution as it is the cornerstone of our newfound democracy and freedoms,” he added.

In Pretoria, OUT, the LGBT health and well-being organisation, also said that its staff and supporters will take part in the Johannesburg protest, which will march to the Constitutional Court.

In an International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) message on Thursday, Director Dawie Nel said: “OUT calls on the homophobic ‘traditional leaders’ to engage with gay and lesbian people about our rights and humanity.”

The organisation marked IDAHO by placing a large banner outside its office in the capital which read: “Tell traditional leaders: keep your hands off lesbian and gay rights!”

The Forum for the Empowerment of Women (FEW) also said that it would participate in the Johannesburg march as part of the “Hand off Our Rights” campaign.

In Cape Town, organisers have confirmed that Cape Town Leathermen, S.W.E.A.T., Gender Dynamics, Gay Flag SA, GlosCPUT, RainbowUCT and Triangle Project will attend the protest.

In related news, the Constitutional Court has told organisers of the Johannesburg protest that a representative would not be sent out to accept their memorandum as the issue was at this point a legislative matter and not a constitutional one.

Organiser Monique Walker responded: “We are going to attach it to their door. They will notice us! This about our voices being heard and our presence felt.”

While it appears that the proposal to change the Constitution will not go far, organisers say that the protests intend to express the LGBT community’s outrage that it was even proposed and then considered by the Constitutional Review Committee.

MAY 19/20 PROTEST DETAILS

Johannesburg

Date: Sat 19 May

Time: 9/10 a.m. till 12 p.m.

Location: Wits parking (near Jorissen street) to Constitution Hill (Kotze Street).

Other: Drinks afterwards at Ratz bar & Melon restaurant in Melville.

Contact: Genevieve L̩ Coq Рgenevievelecoq1@gmail.com

• Facebook event page

Cape Town

Date: Sat 19 May

Time: 12 p.m. till 2 p.m.

Location: SABC offices Sea Point. Shuttle taxis to Parliament.

Other: Followed by drinks at Cafe Manhattan.

Contact: Eugene Brockman – huge@p2-ink.com

• Facebook event page

Durban

Date: Sun 20 May

Time: 9 a.m. till 1 p.m.

Location: Durban City Hall (protest will take place here – no march)

Contact: Ezra Steenkamp – durban@iamgay.co.za

• Facebook event page

Port Elizabeth

Date: Sun 20 May

Time: 1 p.m. till 2.30 p.m.

Location: City Hall in Market Square

Contact: David Hessey – hesseydavid@gmail.com

• Facebook event page

Sign the petition opposing any changes to the South African Constitution here.

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