south_african_gay_lesbian_political_party_launchedIt was revealed over the weekend that a new South African LGBT political party has been registered to contest the upcoming national elections.

The Equal Rights Party plans to represent gay and lesbian people in parliament, said spokesperson Michael Herbst.

“We need a voice in parliament to protect women from being raped because people want to cure them from being lesbians,” Herbst told AFP.

“We need someone in parliament when boys are bullied at school because they are thought to be gay,” he said.

Herbst, who is reported to be a retired UNISA professor of health studies, explained that while South Africa has a progressive and enlightened constitution “in reality, it doesn’t work well.”

Mambaonline contacted Herbst on Monday but he couldn’t speak much as he was driving. He did say that the party was formed towards the middle of last year and that it was registered with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) in January, which Mambaonline has confirmed.

When asked if the party had consulted with LGBT rights groups or has any backing from them, he replied: “We’re in the process at the moment.”

Herbst promised to forward more information about his party to Mambaonline in the course of the day.

The Equal Rights Party is not the first lesbian and gay political party to be formed in South Africa.

In May 2012, the GLBTI Party of South Africa was launched by Nicholas Gregory, a marketing and design executive from Bloemfontein, with the intention of contesting this year’s elections.

After the party issued a few press releases it appeared to fizzle out and is not listed as being registered with the IEC. Its website also no longer exists.

Between 1999 and 2005, a dubious organisation called the Gay and Lesbian Alliance (GLA) was run by the notorious Juan Duval Uys and claimed to be the “political voice of lesbigay South Africa”.

After immense controversy and damage to the LGBTI community, the organisation – described by many as “one man and a fax machine” – was soundly discredited by LGBTI groups around the country. It also failed to register to contest any elections, despite promises to do so

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