National Intervention Strategy for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTIQ+) Sector

  1. Background

South Africa’s post-apartheid Constitution 1 was the first in the world to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation, and South Africa was the fifth country in the world, and the first in Africa, to legalise same-sex marriage.

The rights of LGBTI South Africans are clearly stated in Chapter 2 of the Bill of Rights, Section 9(3):

“The state may not unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on one or more grounds including race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, language and birth.”

Likewise, in Chapter 2 of the Bill of Rights 9(3):

“No person may unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on one or more grounds in terms of subsection (3).”

This firmly places South Africa at the forefront of countries globally in terms of adopting a comprehensive human rights approach to same-sex, or LGBTI-related rights. However, there is a gap between the Constitutional rights and protections for LGBTI persons, and the actual realisation of these rights, and this sets the tone for this strategic framework.

With the spate of targeted attacks and murders of black lesbians in certain townships in South Africa continuing unabated, and following considerable pressure from various stakeholders, the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DoJ&CD) took a number of steps to respond to the problem. These steps are briefly outlined below.

Continue reading below or download the full “National Intervention Strategy for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) Sector” resource.

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"“Equality means more than passing laws. The struggle is really won in the hearts and minds of the community, where it really counts.”

Barbara Gittings, American activist for LGBT equality