By Melanie Nathan May 18,2012,
In many countries, around the world LGBTI people face harassment, intimidation, violence, ostracism, hate crimes, and even death, just because of their sexuality. Today at least 100 countries are commemorating International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia with meetings, praying, rallies and vigils -
We are here at United Nations Plaza in San Francisco to reflect, remember and act-
This gives us an opportunity to cross Continents as we are reminded about the mothers who have lost their children. In Minnesota, the mother of Justin Aaaberg, who was bullied to suicide that we are all thinking about her today. That her son stands amongst those whom we consider esteemed symbols of our struggle and fight for equality, for the harmony of acceptance; and Justin will not be forgotten.
We reach out to the mother of Zoliswa Nkonyana in South Africa, who sat in court for 40 postponements over a five year period – waiting for justice. Twelve men were arrested out of the 19 who stoned the defenseless beautiful young 19 year old lesbian until she lay bleeding stoned to pulp. Only 5 of her murderers were convicted.
If not for Homophobia we would not be fighting today for what ought to be a given – equal rights – that is our fight here in the USA; – while around the world, it is is even worse, as LGBTI people fight for their very physical survival.
But in Africa, with more than 37 countries criminalizing our sexual orientation, there has been one example – a lone bastion of hope – and that is South Africa, which after apartheid instituted the perfect fully inclusive constitution, to include the protection of sexual orientation and gender identity rights.
While we in America are in awe of that Constitution, even as we speak here today, it is at grave risk.
Now the SA Traditional leaders are participating in the world of institutionalized homophobia as they are trying to scrap these rights from the SA Constitution.
I am here to deliver a message to the SA Constitutional review Committee headed by Chief Holomisa of the ANC, the South African Ruling Party:-
Chief Holomisa you and the Traditional leaders of South Africa ought to be ashamed of yourselves as you are questioning the magnificence of your all inclusive constitution.
I send love and light and peace to the LGBTQI community in SA who will be marching this weekend against the traditional leaders who want to reverse the clock back to draconian apartheid and this time they want it to be the gay, lesbian, bi transgender people of SA.
Madibe Mandela said – Nelson Mandela: “Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another”
The International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, or IDAHO, took place yesterday and was marked by events held throughout the globe. Here in San Francisco, Gays Without Borders organized a wonderful event in UN Plaza to mark the occasion.
After a series of speeches by City Supervisors David Campos and Christina Olague and by local activists, the U.S. and UN flags were lowered to half-staff for the remainder of the day. Below is a video of the speeches and lowering of the flags that took place:
Melanie Nathan Speaking at – http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=GSM5VVvXbzg#t=281s
Thank you to Michael Petrelis and Gays without borders for organizing this important event.