An often forgotten fact is that the South African constitution was the first in the world to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation.
We pride ourselves on being the ‘rainbow nation’, a land of equal opportunity and respect that is afforded to all those within its borders.
Yet, doing the rounds on South African social media (as well as media throughout the world, sadly) is a mashed-up and heavily edited video of Jose Mourinho (of Chelsea Football Club) and Arsene Wenger (of Arsenal Football Club) confessing their love for one another.
The video (see below) snaps together a bunch of post and pre-match interviews to make it seem like the two are romantically involved, with the heavy implication throughout being that this relationship is ‘funny’.
Why? Well, the way it’s been put together, it would seem that it’s only because these are two serious football managers (not funny) that are in a relationship with one another (suddenly hilarious apparently).
Where is the acceptance in that? And how exactly must a young queer child, scared of being shunned by his loved-ones or class-mates, react to a video like this? It completely silences and degrades any thoughts the viewer may have of being queer, shaming them for being somehow laughable to those at large.
Studies show that suicide attempts amongst LGBT+ teens are between 30 and 40%, with transgender teens at nearly 50%. Do you think this video is funny to them? It’s not; if anything, it’s nothing more than a trigger.
And responding to this with, “Oh it’s just a joke, man! It’s FUNNY”, completely misses the point and serves to further disrespect a union countless millions of people around the world are still fighting and dying for every day.
It’s just… not… funny.
South Africans, lets make a statement. Our constitution is a piece of writing countries throughout the world wish they had. Let’s remind people just how strong and powerful a force it can be. When someone shares this video, tell them to grow up. If they think it’s funny, tell them why it isn’t.
We’re better than this video, we’re better than a cheap and degrading laugh.