Given Baloyi uses the platforms he’s on to share about the queer experience.
Metro FM breakfast show content producer and Unstoppable Thabooty reality TV star Given Baloyi is a self-confessed lover of life and love. He is self-assured and knows exactly which direction he wants his life to take. “I believe in finding your path and purpose and following it.”
He has certainly done that. He does what he can to spread inspiration and motivation – which is exactly what he gets to do in his feature on Metro FM. As an out-and-proud gay man, he also takes great joy in educating others on queer life in general, and black queer life in particular.
“We have the privilege of living our best lives as queer people in South Africa,” says Baloyi, “There are still pockets of people in various spaces who want to limit our rights as queer people, but we’re still quite fortunate to live in a country that is at the forefront when it comes to recognising the rights of queer people.”
Baloyi acknowledges that he doesn’t take his freedom as a queer person in SA for granted, as so many others in other countries don’t get to enjoy the same rights as we do here.
“I live in a country where I can appear on a show like Unstoppable Thabooty on BET Africa as a gay man and receive great reception from the audience, because we live in a loving and accepting community and that’s special,” he says.
Baloyi also educates his own friends and family when it comes to misunderstandings about being queer. “I believe that change and education starts with each of us educating our loved ones and those in close proximity to us,” Baloyi says.
Given Baloyi says that queer representation in the media is key to normalising the LGBTQI+ community
Baloyi’s appearance on Unstoppable Thabooty was an easy decision to make. He explains that he will follow his friend, actress, and show creator, Thando Thabethe anywhere.
The reality series revolves around the stories of young black people as they endeavour to do amazing things – while also trying to work out how life works – and features Baloyi, who is a close friend of Thabethe.
“I think it’s a great way to inspire young black people” says Baloyi. And, with inspiration being his thing, Baloyi certainly does just that.
However, being an artivist isn’t easy, especially when one considers how difficult it can be for many people in the LGBTQI+ community who, despite our progressive laws, still face discrimination and even violence. Baloyi understands this all too well. He believes that the focus needs to turn to prevention of violence against the queer community, and that education is key in this process.
“We need to consider how we can change the culture of violence which has permeated the country; and by improving on education around the LGBTQI+ community and changing perceptions and narratives that seek to dehumanise queer people,” says Baloyi.
“More queer presence on popular public platforms will also go a long way in normalising the existence of the LGBTQI+ community,” he adds.
Catch Given Baloyi on Unstoppable Thabooty on BET Africa (DStv 129) every Saturday at 19:30 with repeats on Sundays at 18:00.