South Africa--I don’t normally watch soapies, but lately I have been finding myself glued to my TV almost everyday watching one of our local soapies on etv called Rhythm City. I have been following this program for the past couple of weeks because it has two female characters that really caught my attention. These women are friends, but what they feel for each other is more than just friendship.
In other words, these women are gay, and they are both in love with one another, but they too are afraid to come out of the closet because of fear of what society would feel about the relationship. Watching the drama unfold in the soapy really got me thinking about how gay people are being treated in South Africa.
I have been dying to write an article about the issue of same sex relationships, but I haven’t been able to find openly gay people to talk to. I think it’s because they are too afraid to come out of the closet. They fear that they might get insulted or beaten up. South Africa has one of the world’s most progressive constitutions and became the first country in Africa to allow gay marriages in 2006, but homosexuality is still widely frowned upon, and same sex relationships are often seen as un-African.
Lesbians are increasingly at risk of getting raped, particularly at South African townships like mine where homosexuality is largely taboo. I have heard on the news that some men are going around and raping lesbians because they believe it will cure the women’s sexual orientation. One incident that really caught my attention was the brutal rape and murder of a lesbian soccer player last year, Eudy Simelani. That story really broke my heart.
Thirty one lesbians have been reported murdered in homophobic attacks since 1998. Support groups say the actual number is probably high because crime on the basis of sexual orientation are not recognized in the South African criminal justice system.
I don’t have a problem with gay people, and I don’t understand why other people are so troubled by other people’s sexual orientation. What gives people the right to judge gay people? I mean, if being gay is wrong as many people claim it is, then let God be the judge of that.