South Africa may be the only African nation that allows same-sex marriage and recognises gay rights, but that doesn’t mean it is free from homophobia and hate. News that a young lesbian had been found murdered and sexually mutilated last week was greeted with horror and sadness by gay rights campaigners and commentators.
The twenty-six year old was killed in what appeared to be a homophobic attack and was found with a toilet brush inserted into her vagina, in the Thokoza area, just east of Johannesburg.
Earlier this week thousands of people marched in Manhattan, New York to denounce a stark increase in violence against the gay community in the city and specifically the brutal aggressive shooting on of Mark Carson last weekend.
Openly gay Mark Carson was shot in the face after being followed and subjected to homophobic verbal abuse and slurs in through New York’s Greenwich Village. Witnesses claim the man charged with Carson’s murder, Elliot Morales, asked him “Do you want to die here?” and “What are you, gay wrestlers?” before shooting him in the face.
New York City Police Department chief Ray Kelly said, “It is clear that the victim here was killed only because, and just because, he was thought to be gay,”
Many are shocked by the crime, believing New York, which legalised same-sex marriage in 2011 was a safe place for gay people to live. Indeed the area of Greenwich Village is a well gay friendliness and acceptance. “There aren’t supposed to be anti-gay hate crimes taking place almost in the shadow of the Stonewall Inn,” said political analyst Richard Socarides.
On Monday, thousands of people took to the streets to protest against the shooting. Some of those present carried placards dedicated to “gay angel Mark Carson” whilst some others chanted slogans like “Hate No, Gun Control Yes” and “Homophobia’s got to go”.
The New York Police Department have said anti-gay bias crimes in the area have risen sharply compared to the equivalent period last year, from 14 incidents to 24. However the figures may not tell the whole truth for many believe that only a few anti-gay crimes are actually reported to the police for a number of reasons, not least the fear of not being treated fairly.
Morales has yet make a plea and is currently being held in custody without bail.
A gay male couple were walking through a South London park during the early hours of Sunday 19th May when they were viciously assaulted by a gang of men, one of the attackers saying “stay down faggot.”
Christopher Bryant, 42, along with his partner Damon Truluck, 38, were walking home across Betts Park in Penge, in the London Borough of Bromley, when six men approached them. “We saw them too late to get away. We ran, and I was getting away, but they caught Damon, my partner, and so I doubled back. I tried to get them off him, and that’s when they thumped me to the ground.“ Mr Bryant told local media.
“When I looked up to see if he was ok one of them kicked me in the face, and said ‘stay down faggot’. Every time I looked up to see what was happening to Damon they either thumped or kicked me, and said ‘don’t try anything’. They went through my pockets and took my wallet and phone. But they kept hitting. Before they ran off they pushed us together and told us to stay still for 5 minutes or they’d kill us.”
The vicious assault took place not long after midnight, just hours after Mr Bryant had celebrated his 42nd birthday. The attack has left both men bruised and battered with Truluck also having injuries to his back and hip, finding it difficult to walk.
In a cruel ironic twist, before this anti-gay attack both men were raising awareness of Friday’s International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia through online magazine http://www.polarimagazine.com.
London’s Metropolitan police are investigating the incident but so far no arrests have been made.
A young woman has been gunned down right in front of her mother and her six year-old niece and activists say she may have been killed because she was a lesbian.
Phumeza Nkolonzi, 22, died after the unknown gunman kicked in the door to her home in the Cape Town township of Nyanga and shot three times without saying a single word. He fled after stealing Phumeza’s mobile phone.
Her brother, Solly Nkolonzi, said the family was hoping someone would come forward with information. “We don’t know why Phumeza was killed,” he said. “She was not a naughty child. She was a lesbian, but she never did any wrong things.”
So far the motive has not been established, however lesbian rights organisation Free Gender believe the murder must have been a hate crime.
Phumeza was openly gay and last year attended the funeral of Nontsikelelo Tyatyeka, the lesbian whose body was found in a wheelie-bin at the home of her neighbour last year after going missing.
Free Gender chairwoman Funeka Soldaat said that the group was concerned that attacks on lesbians were on the rise in the Mau-Mau area of Nyanga, where Phemeza and Nontsikelelo both lived.“It seems like some people in that community don’t want to tolerate lesbians,” she commented. It is scary to see young people being killed brutally because others are simply not comfortable with their sexual orientation.”
Three men in Cameroon have been sentenced to five years in prison for homosexual acts, which are illegal in the central African nation. Two of the accused were in court in the capital, Yaounde, but a third man was sentenced in absentia as he had jumped bail.
Police said the men were arrested for having oral sex in a car. They denied the allegations and their lawyer Alice Nkom told the BBC they were arrested for looking feminine. “How can people be jailed just for dressing like women?” she said, adding that her clients would appeal. “This is really an embarrassment for Cameroon,” said Ms Nkom who also runs Cameroon’s Association for the Defence of Homosexuals. At the start of the trial, she told the BBC the case was a “crime of fashion, not homosexuality”.
A vile teenage gang subjected a gay man to sickening homophobic abuse in a street in Hartlepool, which they also filmed on a mobile phone.
This wayward gang of yobs shouted vile insults, banged on the victim’s car windows and tried to break into the vehicle by attempting to pry open its doors, all the while filming it on mobile telephones.
The incident happened when the 28 year-old openly gay man had parked up and was waiting for his aunt outside a local parade of shops in the Owton Manor area of Hartlepool. Three boys then started the disgusting verbal attack.
Shortly after that fired off the verbal homophobic insults, five others joined in and the shouting and banging escalated. At first the man tried to ignore them in the hope they would go away, but they carried on in a bid to get a reaction and cause maximum hurt and damage.
More than 1000 people attended the funeral of the murdered barman Stuart Walker last week.
It was a crime that attracted worldwide headlines due to the horrific way in which Mr Walker died. The young gay man was found “horrible” injuries at a lampost near an industrial estate in the Scottish town of Cumnock last month. Not only had he been savagely beaten he had also been set on fire.