Eugene Brockman with Justice Edwin Cameron
The Gay Flag of South Africa (GFSA) team met with Justice Edwin Cameron at the Constitutional Court in Johannesburg on Monday.
The GFSA representatives are on a 5000 km tour of South Africa to raise LGBTI awareness and to protest traditional leaders’ call for sexual orientation protection to be removed from the Constitution.
On day seven of the trip, GFSA stopped at the Constitutional Court on a personal invitation by Cameron, believed to be Africa’s only openly-gay judge.
The Constitutional Court justice told the group that he was very proud of them and that “silence and invisibility were the two greatest sins”.
Cameron went on to say that more emphasis should be placed on the racial divide within the LGBTI community and that there was a need to emphasise the struggles of LGBTI people in townships.
After an emotional handover of the gay flag to the judge, Eugene Brockman from GFSA said: “Today is another historical day. To be recognised by someone of such stature and to be invited to the Constitutional Court is a big coup for LGBTI South Africa.”
The GFSA team later reflected on their work as they stood in silence in front of a quote by Nelson Mandela displayed in the Court, which reads: “It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But needs be it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die” (Rivonia trial, 1964).
Over the last few days, the GFSA tour has made a number of other visits. The team took part in the Soweto Pride and Wits University Pride marches, were interviewed by 5FM DJ Fresh on air, and dropped in at OUT LGBT Well-being in Pretoria.
The trip was marred last Saturday by an ugly incident of homophobia. During a stop-over in Bloemfontein, one of the GFSA tour members, drag cabaret artist Lola Fine, was harassed by a security guard in Mimosa Mall and asked if she had a permit to “look like that”.
“This is why we are doing this tour”, Henry Bantjez from GFSA said, “to educate people. Nobody has the right to question anybody for who they are or what they look like. We have rights. We have a constitution”.
The GFSA tour will conclude on Saturday October 6 at Joburg Pride.