MARAPONG — The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Questioning (LGBTIQ) community as well as sex workers based in the Waterberg District gathered at the SAVF Centre in Marapong for data collection.
The programme was a project of the Department of Social Development and looked at challenges LGBTIQ and sex workers face in society.
According to the Coordinator of the LGBTIQ community in Waterberg, Dolph Raditoro Belle, the data collection gathering was about what the LGBTIQ community and sex workers usually go through due to intolerance and lack of understanding.
“Even at this stage in 2018 we have those who still hide their sexual orientation because they fear to be isolated. The same applies to sex workers who are ashamed to be known for the work they do.
“The good part about all this is that our clinics have sex workers and LGBTIQ representatives working with healthcare providers,” Belle said.
Belle added that the biggest problem currently lies with those who are in various departments and still are aloof towards gays and lesbians.
“Our next goal is to teach learners at schools about the sexual orientation of the LGBTIQ community. That should also apply to educators because recently we have experienced a challenge with one female student who was reprimanded by teachers from her school for dressing in men’s clothes.
“This type of discrimination should never be tolerated and we are hoping to have talks with the Department of Education to include LGBTIQ in their curriculum, to help students to understand better what the community goes through,” he said.
Belle said communities, especially parents, are not aware that homosexuality develops at an early stage for anyone and it leaves the person with complicated feelings before they are finally able to establish gender identity and orientation.
The Chairperson of Human Rights for sex workers, Jane Kgole, advised those in her industry to work together and report any abuse they suffer, as they are recognised.
She said she was not embarrassed by what she does. Her family is aware of it – including the work she has been part of in attending sex workers educational programmes in Cape Town among other areas.
The programme was attended by Ward 2 Cllr Lesibana Monare, the LGBTIQ community, sex workers and representatives from across the Waterberg District.
According to the integrated communities involved, this was a step towards dismantling ignorance in the area regarding the isolated minorities.