Cape Town’s Triangle Project is hosting a seminar on Saturday 11 August, in Gugulethu, designed to address the on-going issue of hate-based violence against members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community.

The aim of the seminar is to highlight and use the opportunity to emphasise the levels of violent attacks against LGBT people in the townships.

“The global gay and lesbian community looks up to South Africa as a role model when it comes to gay rights issues. But, when South Africa cannot effectively deal with her issues of violence towards this community, the good advocacy work done by our organisations is undermined and reversed,” said Triangle in a statement.

“The lawmakers’ neglect in immediately legislating and defining hate speech and hate crimes causes a major negative impact on the LGBT community. Fear is instilled upon those who are out and open, while some are forced to hide in the closet, due to fear of being victimized. The lack of support and immediate action from the police, causes people to lose faith in the justice system, thereby encouraging under-reporting of hate-based incidents,” added the organisation.

A recent study conducted by Triangle Project, in collaboration with the UNISA Centre for Applied Psychology, reports that 83% of the respondents most frequently cited homophobia as reason for incidents of victimisation, while 30% cited being a woman as reason.

“Victims of hate crimes have been found to suffer heightened levels of psychological distress compared to victims of similar crimes, which are not motivated by prejudice,” the study reports.

“Organisations and groups that were watchdogs during the apartheid era are now silent about crimes against the LGBT community. Are these violent crimes permissible because the targets are gays and lesbians, particularly black lesbians?” asks Marlow Valentine, Outreach and Public Education and Training Manager at Triangle Project.

The Hate Crimes seminar takes place on Saturday 11 August at the JL Zwane Centre (NY 2), Gugulethu from 14h00 to 17h00.

There will be speakers from Inclusive & Affirming Ministries (IAM), Triangle Project and the Gender Equity Unit (UWC). A candlelight vigil will conclude the event.

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