A Durbanville man has lashed out at the two drag queens who hiked up Lion’s Head in Cape Town in heels, ironically to raise awareness about bullying.
Last week, ‘drag sisters’ Sasha Le Strange and Kimmy LeStrange made their way up the Cape Town mountain on behalf of the PWR Project: an NPO that creates awareness around bullying and discrimination among South African youth.
However, an article in the TygerBurger local newspaper about their impressive charity hike was met with outrage from a conservative Christian reader.
In a letter published on Wednesday, Johannes Potgieter slammed the newspaper for trying to “force this liberal propaganda down my throat” and for promoting a “fake, ungodly ‘acceptance message’ that is preached worldwide.”
Potgieter wrote that, “As Christians, we need to love our neighbour, but do not think that we must or will accept everything that our neighbour does”. He condemned the article for “applauding these men in their dresses and giving them airtime” and “exposing this distorted message to our children.”
Potgieter further called on the newspaper to instead “find out what their relationships were with their dads – they will have non-existent or extremely traumatic relationships. That causes an identity problem that, in turn, results in homosexuality or trans men.”
He added that “the suicide rate of transgender and gay men is sky high worldwide…” and insisted that the newspaper refrain from publishing similar articles again.
Karl Hildebrandt, PWR Project Chairperson, and the man behind Kimmy, responded to Potgieter in a letter of his own.
“As a person representing the ‘Christian’ community, it’s scary to see how easily you are able to cast your judgements and flaunt your offensive opinions,” said Hildebrandt. “With regards to religion, I do not seek to engage in a contest of wills as I am not necessarily religious myself and certainly have respect for faith, but in that same manner – I expect to be respected.”
Hildebrandt rejected the long-discredited view that homosexuality is caused by the lack of a father figure. “My own father was a very loving and family-oriented man… By suggesting that a lack of a ‘father figure’ is what prompted my drag is both heart-breaking and wholly unfair. It bespeaks of the very culture we wish to change, in that people are callously stereotyped.
“Johannes, it is these exact views (which we concede are shared by many) that are directly relayed to your children and the younger generations, and this is often the cause of bullying and discrimination (which both Sasha and myself, Kimmy, had to endure).
“With regards to that, it is also mentioned in your critique that the suicide rates amongst transgender and homosexual individuals is at an alarming height, but it is for these precise phobic views that it is.
“It is when people are turned away, shunned and hated that they feel they are most alone and vulnerable. We ask that you open both your heart and mind and to broaden your perspective. If, thereafter, you are unable to compromise then we respectfully ask that you refrain from propagating your own unjust beliefs as you have suggested we do,” said Hildebrandt.