Lesbian pupil banned from school in North West


Lesbian-North-West-pupil-banned-from-schoolIt’s been reported that a young lesbian woman in North West was barred from attending school because she refused to wear a skirt.

According to Taung Daily News, 18-year-old Zinzi Manini Molema, from the village of Maphoitsile, was told to go home and not come back until she stopped wearing trousers.

“The principal sent me packing after I came to school wearing a trouser which was part of [the] uniform,” Molema, who identifies as lesbian, told the newspaper.

“He said I must go back home and wear a skirt since I was a girl. I told him that I cannot wear a skirt because I’ve never worn any in my life. I had to stay home for three weeks without attending any classes.

“I believe it is unfair for any educator to force a pupil to wear anything that they not feeling comfortable in,” she added.

“She was wearing a school uniform, despite whether [it] is a trouser or a skirt,” commented neighbour Reynett Gaanabo. “How could they deny her time to attend classes just because she is lesbian?”

The province’s Department of Education and Sport Development was forced to intervene in the situation to ensure Molema’s right to an education was enforced.

“As [a] department we have ordered the principal to take back the pupil. We also informed the principal to make some [exception] towards the learner,” said spokesperson Elias Malindi. “The school will also make sure they organise [a] recovery plan for her to cover the syllabus.”

While the South African Schools Act allows schools to develop a code of conduct relating to uniforms, this cannot be used to discriminate against pupils on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

In a 2014 statement, the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Network said that bullying and abuse of LGBTI students in schools “are on the increase” in South Africa. Teachers and school officials are often behind the abuse.

The group reported an incident in which lesbian learners in Cape Town were verbally and physically assaulted by school teachers when they expressed discomfort with wearing the school tunics assigned to girls.

In Limpopo, when a student refused to conform to gender-segregated uniforms, the principle encouraged the other learners to follow her to the toilets and to physically ‘check’ her genital area.

Another incident took place in Tembisa, east of Johannesburg, in 2014, when seven openly lesbian school girls were banned from school because of their “satanic” lesbianism and for refusing to wear skirts.

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