ccrri Hosts International Day against Homophobia Debate
The Centre for Critical Research on Race and Identity (ccrri) hosted a discussion on the International Day against Homophobia [IDAHO] which is now observed in more than 100 countries.
The founder of IDAHO, Professor Louis-Georges Tin, had previously spoken to UKZN students through Skype about his work as President of CRAN which is the Representative Council of Black Organisations in France as well as his work on reparations and on fighting homophobia.
ccrri Director, Professor Rozena Maart a longtime friend and colleague of Tin’s, gave a brief overview of the life and work of Tin, and how IDAHO began.
Tin, a former student of the Ecole Normale Superieur, is also the editor of a Dictionary of Homophobia (2003) which brought together 75 authors.
In 2004, the IDAHO committee, chaired by Tin, called for the universal decriminalisation of homosexuality. In August 2004, Tin launched the idea of a World Day against homophobia. On 17 May 2005, the first edition of IDAHO was celebrated in more than 40 countries.
The ccrri event allowed participants to reflect on issues that affect the LGBTI community. Those issues included discrimination and stigmatisation in public and private spheres, and violence.
The discussion also addressed the criminalisation of homosexuality within certain African countries. According to the IDAHO report 2014, 81 countries still criminalise homosexuality, represents 40% of the global population.
It was noted that within the South African context, where homosexuality is legal, the LGBTI community still faces barriers to their rights. This led to a discussion on corrective rape as one of the forms of violence against LGBTI people, which occurs in South Africa on a regular basis.
A speaker, Dr B Dlamini, said his research at both Masters and PhD level, was focused on homophobia. ‘I have been teaching in the area of Academic Literacy since 2008 at UKZN. I have also presented a paper at an International Conference on Indigenous Knowledge Systems held in the GSB Auditorium on the Westville Campus.’ Dlamini is currently working on a paper titled: "Dismantling Heteronormativity."
UKZN student Ms Philile Langa said: 'Issues of homophobia and transphobia hardly ever graced society’s social conscious.'
‘This is emphasised by the struggle to have homophobic crimes such as corrective rape recognized as a hate crime. With homophobia a reality on campus it is important to have these kinds of discussions, especially when we are part of a University that remains quiet on the topic.’
Also taking part in the debate, Mr Maximino Costumado, said: 'Since 2005, May 17 has been dedicated to the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia, marking the day in 1990 when the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders.
‘It constitutes an annual landmark to draw the attention of decision makers, the media, the public, opinion leaders and local authorities to the alarming situation faced by lesbian, gay, bisexuals, transgender and intersexed people and all those who do not conform to the sexual and gender norms of the majority. We need to continue to raise these issues,’ he said.