Aug 5, 2010

UNITY IN DIVERSITY: Xenophobia = homophobia = transphobia = racism = anti-Semitism = any form of bias

¨It is the theme of 2010 Joburg Pride (Africa’s oldest and largest Pride event) and the venerable Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu proclaimed it during the kick-off concert of the FIFA 2010 Soccer World Cup. It is a statement encapsulating unity in diversity. And its scope is not limited to denizens of Africa as anthropologists and historians alike have postulated that humanity has its origins in Africa.

The preamble to the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa and the inscription on the South African coat of arms cemented the phrase “unity in diversity.” The old, clichéd adage still holds true: united we stand, divided we fall.

The Joburg Pride Board adopted the theme in light of prevailing threats of xenophobic violence which immediately conjures up memories of the deplorable events of May 2008 when about 100 000 people were displaced, homes and businesses of foreigners ransacked and set alight, the most indigent people in South Africa assaulted and murdered and chased away from their homes like subhuman beings. The victims’ only “crime” was being different – of a different nationality. It is identity based crime and victimisation personified and a close parallel to genocides through the ages from times immemorial to the Holocaust to 1994 Rwanda.

South Africa is one of only a handful of countries that grants asylum status due to persecution on the basis of sexual orientation inter alia. Many members of the Pink community from all over Africa fled to South Africa in search of a sense of normalcy and freedom from persecution/genocide and to experience some of the legal rights and protections South Africans so often take for granted.

If you think xenophobia only applies to foreign nationals, think again. Xenophobia literally means (from etymology) “having abnormal fear or hatred of the strange or foreign” [Wordweb, Princeton University]. I’d hate to break the news but many people view us in the Pink community strange or foreign or both. It doesn’t matter if we are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, intersex, questioning, queer, polyamorous, asexual or of the various shades of alphabet soup identities in between artificial semantics boundaries.

Those who are not completely heterosexual and cisgender face possible identity based crimes along with foreign nationals. Yet some in our little convoluted community harbour the Orwellian notion that they are more equal than others in the same boat as they are, or simply lack the insight and cerebral capacity to grasp the interrelatedness of human rights. These bitter and self-destructive people draw endless us/them dichotomies to stymie the work done by many in the Pink community to foster a sense of unity in purpose, severalty and diversity...¨ read it all HERE

· Thanks to African Activist, sidebar
· Thanks to Cobus Fourie
· Thanks to Amplifying Africa's LGBTI Voices
· Thanks to Archbishop Desmond Tutu, South Africa/World

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