Sunday, November 23, 2008

"It is Still Not OK to be Gay in SA"

"South Africans may legally embrace same-sex marriages, but deep down an overwhelming majority are homophobic.

The annual South African Social Attitudes Survey, which was conducted by the Human Sciences Research Council, to be released tomorrow, shows that a staggering 80% of South Africans are still largely prejudiced against rather than accepting of gay and lesbian relationships.

The study, conducted by Ben Roberts and Vasu Reddy, found that between 2003 and 2007 more than 80% of the population consistently felt that sex between two men or two women was always wrong. It also found that gays and lesbians were characterised as “un-African” and that intolerance towards homosexuality was prevalent.

South Africa was ranked alongside countries such as Chile and the Philippines, where intolerance towards gays and lesbians was more than five times higher than in the Netherlands."
You can read the rest of The Times article here.

I am not surprised by these findings.

One will often hear folks speak of our democratic constitution and our embrace of same-sex unions, etc, but many of those same folk are ardently anti-gay, and often, violently so.

One popular argument that goes around when the issue of gay rights and same-sex marraiges come up is the view that white liberals wrote the constitution and hence the emphasis on gay rights.

The widely accepted view, as noted above, is that being gay is un-African. It is an ignorant, harmful, and essentialist view of what it means to be African.

And sadly it is much the same kind of beligerent intolerance that defines and drives sexism, racism, and xenophobia in South Africa.

Onward!

4 comments:

Dade said...

"Un-African?" Goodness! That sounds so much like the "Un-American" aspersion that right-wingers over here throw around whenever they get their feathers ruffled. I suppose reactionaries are the same everywhere.

A quotation from the article:

"South Africa was ranked alongside countries such as Chile and the Philippines, where intolerance towards gays and lesbians was more than five times higher than in the Netherlands."

Frankly, this doesn't surprise me. People in the Netherlands are the most tolerant and non-judgmental that I've ever been around. Gotta love those Dutchmen!

Ridwan said...

Hey Dade:

You are right about the conservative connection between
un-African and un-American.

Both are steeped in essentialist views of nation, culture, and religion (among others).

I have heard that some Dutchmen are 'tolerant' and inclusive.

The comprehensive truth is, however, that if you are a Muslim or Roma the Netherlands is a rough place.

Be well brother.

Peace,
ridwan

Erica said...

Good post. What struck me about this past election was that most black americans voted against proposition 8. You would think that since we fought so hard to be recognized and respected as a people, we wouldn't deny others the right to do the same. I was proven wrong. We still have a long way to go.

I've come to the conclusion that gay is the new black!

Ridwan said...

Thanks kindly Erica.

I must admit that I don't know much about proposition 8 or the race politics that went with it in California.

I did read an article though that pressed the argument that prop 8 also discriminates against black and Latino gays.

The implication being that those who voted for prop 8 are not easily described by race only.

Thanks Erica.

Peace,
ridwan