Celebrating sexual diversity in KZN

THE lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) community of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) recently established the KZNPride organisation at a special general meeting in Pietermaritzburg on October 23 in the hopes of uniting and bringing together all LGBTQ+ organisations in KZN.

In a press release, KZNPride state that their objection and mission is to provide a safe and supportive environment that unites gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning communities across all lines of age, race, gender and economics.

“We want to bring together all our LGBTQ+ organisations together to celebrate who we are and to help build partnerships and collaborations that celebrate sexual diversity and gender variance,” said Anthony Waldhausen, director of the Gay and Lesbian Network Pietermaritzburg, Kim Lithgon, from Save a life Toti, said that in this day and age the LGBTQ+ community still faced a lot of challenges and that KZNPride has been established as a way to reach the straight community and teach them how to be inclusive.

“It is our aim to make KZN a safe place for our community because there are still many challenging factors we experience daily, especially at a school level, and this is why we are trying to encourage schools to allow us to hold assemblies whereby we teach pupils how to be inclusive of their fellow pupils who are different to them,” said Lithgon. KZNPride is registered as a Non-Profit Company (NPC) — registration number: 20184397750 — and is open to partnering with individuals as well as businesses who wish to provide funding for the initiative.

KZNPride supports and promotes initiatives targeting the KZN LGBTQ+ community that include:

• General events, such as entertainment and nightlife within KZN.

• Monthly support and social groups especially targeted at Gay, Lesbian and Transgender persons.

• Free or affordable counselling for bullied and transgender individuals.

• Promote general awareness of LGBTI issues around KZN and provide resources within the KZN Region.

• Encourage networking between LGBTI groups and LGBTI allies

• Addressing and awareness of bulling in schools.

There will be an official launch of KZNPride in 2019. More announcements will be made in due course.

Celebrating sexual diversity in KZN The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer community of KwaZulu-Natal

Celebrating sexual diversity in KZN THE lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) community of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) recently established the KZNPride organisation at a special general meeting in Pietermaritzburg on October 23 in the hopes of uniting and bringing together all LGBTQ+ organisations in KZN.

 

In a press release, KZNPride state that their objection and mission is to provide a safe and supportive environment that unites gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning communities across all lines of age, race, gender and economics.

“We want to bring together all our LGBTQ+ organisations together to celebrate who we are and to help build partnerships and collaborations that celebrate sexual diversity and gender variance,” said Anthony Waldhausen, director of the Gay and Lesbian Network Pietermaritzburg, Kim Lithgon, from Save Love Toti, said that in this day and age the LGBTQ+ community still faced a lot of challenges and that KZNPride has been established as a way to reach the straight community and teach them how to be inclusive.

“It is our aim to make KZN a safe place for our community because there are still many challenging factors we experience daily, especially at a school level, and this is why we are trying to encourage schools to allow us to hold assemblies whereby we teach pupils how to be inclusive of their fellow pupils who are different to them,” said Lithgon.

KZNPride is registered as a Non-Profit Company (NPC) — registration number: 20184397750 — and is open to partnering with individuals as well as businesses who wish to provide funding for the initiative. KZNPride supports and promotes initiatives targeting the KZN LGBTQ+ community that include:

  • General events, such as entertainment and nightlife within KZN.
  • Monthly support and social groups especially targeted at Gay, Lesbian and Transgender persons.
  • Free or affordable counselling for bullied and transgender individuals.
  • Promote general awareness of LGBTI issues around KZN and provide resources within the KZN Region.
  • Encourage networking between LGBTI groups and LGBTI allies
  • Addressing and awareness of bulling in schools. There will be an official launch of KZNPride in 2019. More announcements will be made in due course.

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Conversion therapy triples LGBT youth suicide attempts

The American study from the Family Acceptance Project is the first to look at the role and impact of parents and others in so-called ‘conversion therapy’ efforts to change LGBT adolescents’ sexual orientation.

The research, which was published in the Journal of Homosexuality, found that both home-based parent and external sexual orientation conversion interventions contribute to multiple health and adjustment problems in young adulthood.

These include higher levels of depression and suicidal behavior, as well as lower levels of self-esteem, social support and life satisfaction, and lower levels of education and income in young adulthood, compared with LGBT young people who did not experience conversion efforts.

Alarmingly, the researchers found that rates of attempted suicide by LGBT young people whose parents tried to change their sexual orientation were more than double (48%) the rate of LGBT young adults who reported no conversion experiences (22%).

Suicide attempts nearly tripled for LGBT young people who reported both home-based efforts to change their sexual orientation by parents and intervention efforts by therapists and religious leaders (63%).

The costs of conversion therapy

In addition, levels of depression more than doubled (33%) for LGBT young people whose parents tried to change their sexual orientation compared with those who reported no conversion experiences (16%). It more than tripled (52%) for LGBT young people who experienced both home-based and external conversion therapy.

Sexual orientation change experiences during adolescence were also associated with lower young adult socioeconomic status: less educational attainment and lower weekly income.

“Although parents and religious leaders who try to change a child’s LGBT identity may be motivated by attempts to ‘protect’ their children, these rejecting behaviors instead undermine an LGBT child’s sense of self-worth, contribute to self-destructive behaviors that significantly increase risk and inhibit self-care which includes constricting their ability to make a living,” said Dr. Caitlin Ryan, Director of the Family Acceptance Project at San Francisco State University and lead author.

“It is clear that there are public health costs of ‘change’ efforts for LGBT adolescents over the long-term. The kind of change we really need is family education and intervention,” added study co-author, Stephen T. Russell, Ph.D., Regents Professor, University of Texas at Austin.

Earlier this year, the Williams Institute estimated that around 700,000 LGBTQ adults in the US have received conversion therapy at some point in their lives, including about 350,000 who received it as adolescents.

The World Psychiatric Association and many other mental health bodies have asserted that trying to “cure” LGBTQ people doesn’t work and is both dangerous and unethical. The UK government has announced its plans to ban conversion therapy. In April, the Psychological Society of South Africa (PsySSA) reaffirmed its condemnation of conversion therapy.

PRESS RELEASE: KZNPride, Durban 23 October 2018

PRESS RELEASE: KZNPride, Durban

This is to inform all of the establishment of a new Pride organisation called KZNPride that was established at a Special General Meeting in Pietermaritzburg on the 23 October 2018.

The vision of KZNPride is to strive to be a representative body of the LGBTI+ community of KwaZulu-Natal. We also seek to standardize Pride of KZN by supporting annual PrideFest events throughout the KwaZulu-Natal region.

The mission of KZNPride is to provide a safe, supportive environment.  The KZNPride LGBTQ+ strive to provide services, professional resources and programs that unite the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning community across lines of age, race, gender, and economics. Our purpose is to strengthen, support, and celebrate LGBTQ+ individuals, families, and groups in their efforts to achieve their fullest potential.

KZNPride strives for positive social change through advocacy, community education, cultural awareness and wellness programs that assist in the creation, development and growth of LGBTQ+ affirming organizations, institutions and cultures within the community at large.

KZNPride is registered as a Non-Profit Company (NPC) Registration number: 20184397750. It forms a supporting umbrella in KwaZulu-Natal to promote a totally inclusive Pride that stands against discrimination and violence towards lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex (LGBTI+) people. We seek to affirm those of diverse sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression by increasing visibility of LGBTI people within our communities, by building partnerships and collaborations that celebrate sexual diversity and gender variance. We support and promote initiatives targeting the KZN LGBTI community that include:

  • General events, such as entertainment & nightlife within the KZN area.
  • Monthly support and social groups especially targeted at Gay, Lesbian and Transgender persons. Free or affordable counselling for bullied and transgender individuals.
  • Promote general awareness of LGBTI issues around KZN
  • Provide resources within the KZN Region.
  • Encourage networking between LGBTI groups and LGBTI allies
  • Addressing and awareness of bulling in schools.

The founding members hereby calls on LGBTI organisations in KZN to join KZN Pride. For more information on how to join, please contact Ezra Steenkamp at info@kznpride.org or visit www.kznpride.org

There will be an official launch of KZNPride in 2019 and more announcements will be made in due course.

The founding members of KZNPride are:

  1. Anthony Waldhausen, director of the Gay and Lesbian Network
  2. Kim Lithgow, director of Same Love Toti
  3. Ezra Steenkamp, businessperson from Durban

Why bosses and businesses need to take LGBTI+ inclusion more seriously

Many employees hide their sexuality at work for fear of discrimination.

An international study has revealed insights into whether lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI+) people feel included in the workplace.

The study was conducted by international LGBT market research leaders, Out Now Consulting.

LISTEN: Stories about coming out of the closet

The study surveyed over more than 3 000 young LGBTI+ people from across 15 countries, including South Africa, UK, USA, Spain, Germany, Turkey.

CEO of Out Now, Ian Johnson, explains that 58% of young LGBTI+ are not open about their sexual orientation or gender identity at work because they worry they will face discrimination from managers and colleagues.

Despite having “come out” at school, university and to loved ones, many young LGBTI+ graduates go back “into the closet” at their first job.

Read: How was your experience of ‘coming out’ with your sexual orientation?

Johnson says businesses need to stop window dressing LGBTI+ inclusion and diversity in the workplace.

He adds that policy alone isn’t enough to drive inclusion and breaks down the findings of their research.

Here are some of the insights that apply to South Africa:

  • 50% in SA said that hearing negative comments in the workplace was the reason that they preferred not to come out during their first job.
  • 29% went totally back in the closet.
  • 37% (more than 1 in 3) did not disclose their gender identity or sexual orientation with their direct manager at their first job .
  • 47% said they had hidden their gender identity or sexual orientation because they feared it could affect their success or prospects of promotion.

Read more about the Out Now research study here.

New graduates (18 to 25) reported the highest percentage of going back into the closet.

— Ian Johnson, Chief Executive Officer of Out Now

Increasingly, people of the age groups between 18 and 25 – even up to 35 – have become very used to being out at university, at school, and with their peers, but they start in a very unfamiliar environment at work.

— Ian Johnson, Chief Executive Officer of Out Now

They want managers to visibly and regularly show their support by what they say and what they do – consistently and genuinely. Make support for LGBTI+ it visible and verbal.

— Ian Johnson, Chief Executive Officer of Out Now

[Workplace] culture happens when senior management is not watching, that’s the moment we need to work in.

— Ian Johnson, Chief Executive Officer of Out Now

A small rainbow flag, representing equality for members of the LGBTI community. Picture: Stock.XCHNG

‘My boss told me being lesbian would limit my career’

South African professionals also opened up with their personal experienced of being LGBTI+ in the work environment.

Compliance manager Sindiswa Ngcwabe, economist Xhanti Payi, and account manager Siya Mnyanda all shared their anecdotes along with other listeners.

She called me in with one of the managers to ask me if I’m lesbian. I obviously denied it. She told me that if I am [lesbian], it’s quite limiting. I won’t go far in my career.

— Sindiswa Ngcwabe, Compliance Manager at Cricket South Africa

In certain fields, [being gay] is almost a mark of being ‘better’, in other places it’s not such a great space. Anyone who’s worked in a bank knows that that being gay is ‘career-limiting’.

— Xhanti Payi – Economist and head of research at Nascence Advisory and Research

The corporate space still mirrors South society. South Africans are still negotiating their views on homosexuality. Something told me not come out at work, I hoped that it wouldn’t cost me my career.

— Siya Mnyanda, Account manager at a multinational technological company