Tag Archives: Lesbians in South Africa

What we know so far about recent rapes and murders of lesbians in South Africa

Lerato Tambai Moloi

Lerato “Tambai” Moloi found stoned to death on May 14th.

South Africa is seeing a sharp rise in the rape and murder of women, including lesbians, in the last couple of months.  On April 1st, a 26-year-old lesbian was raped, beaten and stabbed by three men outside her home in Mohadin, Potchefstroom.  Three suspects were arrested, two minors and a 19-years-old, but we have no further information on the status of those charges.

On April 4th, the burned body of Nonkie Smous, an out lesbian, was found in Kroonstad, but her identity was not confirmed until 4 weeks later.  She was laid to rest on May 13th.  It is believed that Smous was raped and murdered before being set on fire.  According to Mambaonline, three men were reportedly arrested in connection with the murder, but 2 of the men were released and one was charged with robbery and is no longer in custody.

On May 14th, the body of Lerato “Tambai” Moloi, an out lesbian in Soweto, was found covered in stones by a man cutting grass by railroad tracks.  Tsotang Petros Mokgethi‚ 38‚ and Jacob Alofayo‚ 35‚ stand accused of kidnapping‚ rape and murder.  It is believed that Lerato Moloi was the victim of corrective rape before being stoned to death.  There are reports that she was also set on fire, but we are unable to confirm at this time.  The Gauteng provincial government announced on Wednesday it will assist with the burial cost and psycho-social support for Moloi’s family.  The news of Moloi’s murder comes as the Love Not Hate project launches a new campaign demanding justice for LGBTI victims of hate crimes.

lerato+protea4
Zodwa Moloi, right, the mother of Lerato Moloi, supported by Thandi Mathanjana at her home in Protea, Soweto. Picture Credit: Sandile Ndlovu.

This same weekend, the bodies of Popi Qwabe, 24, her friend Bongeka Phungula, 28, were also found in separate, but nearby, areas of Soweto.  Owabe and Phungula were roommates living in Zola, but here is no mention of their sexuality.  Both women were raped before they were killed.  One suspect is in custody.

The burned body of Nombuyiselo Nombewu, a 15-year old, was found on May 14th and 32-year old Tshepo Seth Manyikie has been arrested for her rape and murder. This follows the rape and murder of Karabo Mokoena on April 27th, by her boyfriend, who doused her body in acid and set her on fire.  The hashtag #MenAreTrash is now being used by women in South Africa to share stories of acts of abuse and femicide by men they know personally.  While these women were not lesbian, their rape and murder do reflect the level of misogyny and violence all women in Soweto have been dealing with in recent months.

There is a fourth body of a woman found at a dumping site in Mfolo, also on Sunday.  Her body was burned beyond recognition.  There is evidence that she was also raped before her murder. Listening 2 Lesbians will be following this story closely.

25/5/2017 UPDATE: None of the suspects mentioned by police in connection with Lerato Moloi’s murder appeared in court.  As of this date there have been no arrests made.

http://www.mambaonline.com/2017/04/07/lesbian-woman-raped-stabbed-potchefstroom/

http://www.mambaonline.com/2017/04/05/burnt-body-feared-young-lesbian-woman/

http://www.mambaonline.com/2017/05/08/dna-results-confirmed-lesbian-murder-victim-nonki-smous-buried/

http://citizen.co.za/news/news-national/1514567/horrific-photo-circulates-after-murder-of-lesbian-in-soweto/

http://www.timeslive.co.za/local/2017/05/17/Bail-hearing-for-Lerato-Moloi-suspects-delayed-as-SAPS-press-ahead-with-investigation1

http://www.timeslive.co.za/local/2017/05/17/EFF-leaders-at-Soweto-court-for-Lerato-Moloi-corrective-rape-trial1

http://citizen.co.za/news/1517059/details-four-women-murdered-found-dead-soweto-one-weekend/

http://www.timeslive.co.za/sundaytimes/stnews/2017/05/14/Horrific-details-of-Karabo-Mokoenas-gruesome-murder-emerge

http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/three-men-arrested-for-murders-of-3-soweto-women-20170517

http://www.iol.co.za/news/crime-courts/gang-raped-joburg-woman-is-pregnant-9180269

https://www.ofm.co.za/article/local-news/243478/klerksdorp-murder-accused-stays-in-custody

http://www.sowetanlive.co.za/news/2017/05/18/lerato-was-killed-by-people-she-knew-it-was-a-hate-crime

http://www.iol.co.za/news/crime-courts/attacks-on-lesbians-a-hate-crime-9252891

 

 

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Soweto lesbian, Lerato Moloi, raped and stoned to death (More information)

Additional information on Lerato Molio.  ***Warning: Graphic/disturbing image in article***

An openly lesbian woman from Soweto has been brutalised and murdered in a suspected hate crime, the day before starting her promising new job.

Continue reading at: Soweto lesbian raped and stoned to death a day before starting new job – MambaOnline – Gay South Africa online (Source)

Another murder of a lesbian, Lerato Moloi, in Soweto, South Africa 

***WARNING: Graphic/disturbing photo in article link***

A gay woman in Naledi, in Soweto, became yet another victim at the weekend of what is suspected to be a homophobic hate crime following several such attacks in the country over the past few months.  The deceased, 27, who police have identified as Lerato Moloi, known by her friends as ‘Tambai’, was found dead on Sunday, with stab wounds and big stones around her head, police said.

Continue reading at: Horrific photo circulates after murder of lesbian in Soweto | The Citizen (Source)

DNA results confirmed: Lesbian murder victim Nonkie Smous to be laid to rest

The family of lesbian murder victim Nonkie Smous can finally begin the difficult journey of coming to terms with her horrific killing. Activists in Kroonstad say that police have confirmed that the burnt out body discovered in the township of Maokeng on April 4 was that of Smous.

Continue reading at: DNA results confirmed: Lesbian murder victim Nonkie Smous to be laid to rest – MambaOnline – Gay South Africa online (Source)

No action taken against principal who outed ‘lesbian’ pupils

It appears that the principal accused of the homophobic abuse of 38 high school pupils in the Eastern Cape will not face any disciplinary action.

It was reported last month that Principal Nomampondomise Kosani of Ulwazi High School ‘outed’ the girls, aged 14 to 18, as lesbians to their parents, guardians and teachers after two female pupils were found kissing in the toilets. The humiliated girls were allegedly subjected to insults and were told to ‘stop’ being gay’.  Some of the parents reacted with anger and said they were prepared to use violence to ‘make their children straight’.

Continue reading at: No action taken against principal who outed ‘lesbian’ pupils – MambaOnline – Gay South Africa online (Source)

South Africa: Threats to decapitate lesbians as murder suspects released in death of Nonkie Smous


According to activists on the ground, three men have been arrested in connection with the murder, with two subsequently released. It is believed that one man remains in custody.

Shockingly, it appears that he has only been charged with robbery after being found in possession of items belonging to Smous.

Mambaonline has as yet been unable to communicate with the authorities in the area and officially verify these reports.pain-for-Nonkis-family-as-suspects-released

Local LGBTI activist Nthabiseng Mokanyane, who is also a relative of Smous, told Mambaonline that one of the released suspects had allegedly threatened a member of the community. “He said that they are going to kill all the lesbians and take off their heads,” she said.

Continue reading at: Lesbian South Africa Lifestyle | News | Dating (Source)

South Africa: Lesbian raped and stabbed in Potchefstroom, 3 male suspects arrested

cropped-17759665_1751621601816549_1276172451596655346_n.jpg
Potchefstroom’s lesbian community has been shaken by another possible hate crime incident after a young lesbian woman was attacked and raped.

According to reports from local activists, on the night of 31 March, the 26-year-old was talking to a friend on the phone outside her home in Mohadin, Potchefstroom.

As she was chatting, three men grabbed her and pulled her into a stretch of veld, where they assaulted her. They hit her on the head with a stone, stabbed her in the left side of her back and kicked her in the face.

Continue reading at: Lesbian Woman Raped and Stabbed in Potchefstroom| mambagirl.com (Source)

South Africa: Burnt body feared to be that of young lesbian

There are fears that a young lesbian woman has become the victim of a shocking hate crime, after a burnt body was discovered in Kroonstad.

Continue reading at: Burnt body feared to be that of young lesbian woman – MambaOnline – Gay South Africa online (Source)

Lesbians in the News 18/04/2015

Lesbians in the news

12/04/2015 – 18/04/2015

Violent Crimes against Lesbians:

Mary Kristene Chapa

Mary Kristene Chapa

Laws, Politics and Policies:

Representation:

Social and Health Issues:

Remembering our sisters:

Religion:

***If I have missed an important news story, please either post a link in the comments section here or email it to me at liz@listening2lesbians.com.

Lesbians in the News 04/04/2015

Lesbians in the news

29/03/2015 – 04/04/2015

Even identity politics doesn’t protect lesbians – Aderonke Apata “not a lesbian”

Aderonke Apata, source: The Independent

Aderonke Apata had appealed to the High Court in the UK when her bid for asylum for sexuality-based persecution was rejected. The UK government argued that she was not a lesbian on the grounds that she had previously been in a heterosexual relationship in her home country of Nigeria, and that she had previously appeared more feminine. Her claim that her ex girlfriend, brother and son were killed and her submissions of sex tapes did not affect the outcome. The Home Office representative declared “The “You can’t be a heterosexual one day and a lesbian the next day. Just as you can’t change your race.”

The judge decided that she was not a lesbian and that she “played the system”, despite a very real fear of persecution if she returns to Nigeria, having been internationally publicised as a lesbian, where lesbians are punished by law and through (increasingly violent) homophobia.

We now have the bizarre position in the UK where you are able to identify as a woman and legally change your recorded sex on public records, if you meet the criteria, but you are not able to identify your own sexuality – clear proof of identifying and living/acting AS A LESBIAN  is insufficient.

In the words of Antilla Dean:

So if you are male, you can identify as a woman and that’s cool.

If you are, actually, a lesbian, and identify as one, and dress as one, and love another female as a female, you are gaming the system.

A campaign in support of Aderonke Apata has been launched by the Proud2Be Project, whose patron she is.


Violent Crimes against Lesbians:

Conversion therapy and social homophobia:

Laws, Politics and Policies:

  • Indiana Passes Anti-Gay/ Lesbian Discrimination Law – Lesbians Are Being Discriminated Against in Every State, Not Just Indiana, by Victoria Brownworth. Not just about wedding cakes and videos, this law which purports to protect religious freedoms permits situations like the paediatrician who recently refused to see the baby of lesbian mothers, and the refusal to hold a funeral service unless a family edit being lesbian out. These are not frivolous or options services, these are basic services that everyone should be able to access at the beginning and the end of their life, regardless of who they are. The refusal to provide them shows a distressing lack of compassion and love. National LGBTI and civil rights groups are lobbying for the  introduction of protections for Indiana’s LGBTI community.
  • The anti-gay backlash continues in America with 20 anti-gay proposals in Texas, including one prohibiting the “burden” of religious exercise without a compelling state interest. Setting the bar this low, without the normal phrasing to prevent only “substantial burden”, could have horrific unintended consequences as religious practices could used to justify a wide variety of unacceptable behaviour.
  • Confederate license plates are seemingly acceptable while the words gay and lesbian are banned. A court case in Texas reminds us of the existing situation in Maryland.
  • The Civil Rights Commission in Michigan released an ordinance template to enable cities and townships to roll out anti-discrimination members for LGBTI residents. 35 municipalities already provide some form of local protection from discrimination.
  • Dallas mayoral candidate Richard Sheridan, an anti-gay activist, has been charged in connection with vandalism linked to homophobia.
  • Bob Jones III has finally apologised for violent homophobia from the 1980s. Although the Bob Jones university continues to actively exclude LGBTI students and alumni, is this apology the start of a shift?
  • The US healthcare system continues to fail meeting the needs of the LGBTI community, including lesbians who are reportedly at a higher risk of breast cancer, have higher rates of smoking, and whose needs for HPV and cervical cancer screening are not met, no doubt for a variety of reasons. As laws supporting religious freedom gain traction, it is likely that the provision of healthcare to lesbians will suffer, as it will for women in general.
  • Indiana Governor defends the state’s religious freedom laws and claims that they aren’t intended to discriminate against lesbians and gays but he is not planning to make lesbian or gay residents a protected class.  If existing legal mechanisms that exist to protect residents from intentional discrimination are not used, the claimed intent to not discriminate seems dubious at best.
  • Meanwhile in Maryland, laws are being developed to provide fertility treatment to married lesbian couples.
  • North Dakota is another state with laws permitting discrimination on the basis of religious freedom, but unlike other states has practically no anti-discrimination legislation with legislation that would ban sexuality-based discrimination soundly rejected by lawmakers for the third time in six years.
  • In an optimistic note perhaps, one of the lawyers who successfully argued against California’s Proposition 8 in the Supreme Court believes that the US will see federal protections for lesbian and gay Americans in the next couple of years.
  • Lawyers for the same sex marriage case in the US Supreme Court prepare for the case to be heard later this month.
  • In a Japanese first, the Tokyo Ward recognises same-sex marriage.
  • What is the affect of same sex marriage – an interesting question posed in lessons From One Year of Same-Sex Marriage in England and Wales. Equality before the law is undoubtedly critical, as is protection of lesbians and our families, but the introduction of same sex marriage is not a silver bullet solving social problems and/or homophobia. In places where the protections for lesbians and their families already exists, the fight for marriage equality ahead of more concrete needs like adequate and appropriate healthcare, for example, seems to prioritise symbolic mainstreaming over these urgent practical needs. Perhaps as national LGBTI communities we need to consider our immediate needs and develop a strategy to achieve them?

Representation:

Social and Health Issues:

  • Homophobia in aged care – the documentary Gen Silent illuminates the homophobia ageing lesbians and gays may face and their consequent return to the closet. Previous studies have raised similar concerns about treatment of ageing lesbian and gay Australians.
  • According to the latest Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey, lesbians earn less than straight or gay men but more than straight women, based purely on working longer hours. This backs up an assessment of society as a structured around male dominance and heterosexuality – that is, supporting heterosexual men and penalising women, irrespective of their sexuality.
  • A University of Illinois study reportedly shows that a sexuality shift early in life is tied to depression. It is curious that they didn’t suggest that the study could be showing how is that coming out is difficult and stressful for many kids, in the absence of a supportive and accepting community.  Most societies groom children to heterosexuality from birth, with social institutions and rituals promoting and supporting them, and social attitudes, structures, laws and behaviours strongly opposing homosexuality in many cases. It makes perfect sense, in that context, for kids coming to terms with or deciding to be open about their homosexuality to have increased rates of depression, especially if familiar, peer and social rejection (both emotional and physical) are taken into account.  It also makes sense for that process to be delayed by the social and cultural hostility surrounding the kids.
  • Lesbian and bisexual women reportedly experience unequal outcomes under Cuba’s healthcare system, with lesbian specific needs and issues either ignored or overlooked. Of particular concern, similar to experiences in other countries, is the way lesbian-specific sexual and reproductive health needs are not met. Many gynaecological processes are discouragingly invasive; lesbian-specific risks for sexually transmitted infections (STI) are not well understood or communicated; and the problems involved in disclosing personal details to health care providers, especially around sexual activity, and discourage women from receiving the required health care.
  • Millenials, the current generation of young adults, are reportedly the generation with the highest rate of “identification” as LGBTI, with the rates doubling since the last survey in 2011.  Much of the change may be in the reported rates of bisexuality, although it is unclear whether the data in the two reports compares similarly segmented generation groups and whether the methodology used to determine LGBT identification was comparable. Interestingly, nearly 40% of millennials also reported that same sex behaviour was morally wrong, with a further 13% reporting that it depended on the situation, significantly undermining the argument that Millennials are a lesbian, gay and bisexual friendly generation. The reported rates of LGB identification are not close to Kinsey’s reported 10%, but factoring in same sex contact but not identity may explain some of this variation, according to a new book on sexual behaviour and statistics.
  • Schools that actively protect LGBT kids may be contributing to lowered rates of depression and suicidality, although it is unclear from the report whether this is based on sexuality specific measures or school wide attitudes against bullying on multiple fronts. What is not reported is the rates of sexual harassment of girls, which will also affect lesbians, and which education institutions around the US, and the world, have systemically failed to address .
  • A Canadian lesbian couple were denied daycare spot due to their sexual orientation and will be filing a complaint with the Manitoba Human Rights Commission.
  • In Switzerland, priests have started blessing same sex couples, with one removed for blessing a lesbian couple in 2014.

***If I have missed an important news story, please either post a link in the comments section here or email it to me at liz@listening2lesbians.com.

Lesbians in the News 28/03/2015

Lesbians in the news

22/03/2015 – 28/03/2015

Lesbians in China – #FreeTheFive:

Xiao La and Maizi

Xiao La and Maizi, image courtesy of Amnesty International

Li Maizi, formally known as Li Tingting, was arrested for “causing arguments in the street” in the leadup to International Women’s Day. Her girlfriend, pictured with her above, is calling for help through All Out:

My name is Xiao La, and I live in China. Two weeks ago, Maizi was organizing a peaceful protest with four friends to denounce harassment at work. They were making pro-equality stickers and planning to hand them out. And just for that, Chinese authorities put my girlfriend in jail.

My birthday is today. Maizi and I had planned to spend the day together doing romantic things. My birthday wish is to have Maizi back. Alone, I won’t be heard. But if thousands around the world join us, the global outcry could get her out of jail.

Can you sign my petition to help free my girlfriend and her friends? go.allout.org/en/a/freethefive/

Maizi and I were taken by the police together, but I was freed the following day. Authorities can now hold her for up to 37 days before deciding whether to even charge her. The authorities confiscated her computer and her phone. The worst part? It happened the night before International Women’s Day.

News articles on the detention:


Violent Crimes against Lesbians:

  • The Brutality of Corrective Rape – South Africa’s progressive laws give no indication of the deep homophobia still dominant within the country, according to this New York Times article. The endemic violence against women couples with the homophobia to result in virulent lesbophobia and, more specifically, corrective rape. Whether it is based on male sexual entitlement or a so called desire to change their sexuality, these South African women talk of being subjected to socially sanctioned and repeated rape. Women are murdered and women have resulting children withheld because of their sexuality.
  • A violent attack on two lesbians in Vancouver is deemed not a hate crime.
  • Homophobia fears keep violence victims quiet – the multiple silencing of same sex domestic violence that prevents victims seeking or receiving help. What can we do as a community to better address the needs of victims? (Note: this story has some Australian DV assistance links).

Conversion therapy and social homophobia:

Laws and Policies:

Representation:

  • Victoria Brownworth’s new novel Ordinary Mayhem is released, focussing on violence against women. Victoria Brownworth’s next book Lesbian Erasure: Silencing Lesbians will be released in late 2015. She says of the novel:”For the past several years I have been increasingly concerned by the obliteration of lesbians as a group by mainstream culture, mainstream feminism and regrettably, even by our own community,” she said. “Major online publications like Slate and Salon conflate lesbian into gay, as if lesbians and gay men don’t have separate identities. And increasingly there is also a revision of butch lesbians as trans men when that is rarely the case—that makes both butch lesbians and trans men invisible. Not all trans men were lesbians, not all butch lesbians are closet trans men. Let each have their distinct identities.””Corrective rape was invented specifically to teach lesbians a lesson about heterosexual normatively. While it’s most common in South Africa, India and Jamaica, it also happen in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere. There are 78 countries where it is illegal to be lesbian or gay—specifically. Lesbians are the victims of honor killings in a dozen countries. The forced marriages of lesbians to men happens in several dozen countries. These are some of the things I write about in Erasure.”
  • NSW, Australia – election candidates answer LGBTI questions – watch the footage here.
  • Herstory: same sex marriage 200 years ago – busting the myth of tradition?
  •  Heather has Two Mommies – kids book about same sex families is now updated with same sex marriage
  • The so-called ‘pink dollar’ or ‘gay-by boom’ – local economies see the benefit in appealing to LGBT tourism. I wonder though, does this actually result in better protections and social conditions for local communities?

Social and Health Issues:

Victoria, Australia held its first Lesbian, bisexual and queer women’s Conference.

Keynote speaker Dr Ruth McNair (from the Australian Lesbian Medical Association) argued that “a conference focusing specifically on women’s health in the community is needed in part because of a history of lesbian, bisexual and queer women’s health being overlooked in funding, policy and LGBTI community services.”

The ALICE study on Alcohol and Lesbian/bisexual women: Insights into Culture and Emotions reported high levels of depression and anxiety, with social stressors (oppression, discrimination and homophobia) closely linked to depression and anxiety rates, drinking levels and self harm and suicidal thoughts.

Other social and health issue stories:

***If I have missed an important news story, please either post a link in the comments section here or email it to me at liz@listening2lesbians.com.

 

Lesbians in the News 21/03/2015

Lesbians in the news

16/03/2015 – 21/03/2015

Corrective Rape: “I became their playground” – a short film exploration

Corrective rape, the attempt to cure lesbians of their homosexuality, is escalating in severity in South Africa. This film explores the phenomenon through the story of a gay single mother from near Johannesburg.  Busisiwe’s five children are all the offspring of corrective rape. As a lesbian, she was raped in order to be ‘cured’ of her homosexuality. Despite that they’re a product of the hate crime, her relationship with her children is not destroyed: “I only want them to succeed in life, to have the things I didn’t.” In Gauteng near Johannesburg, crime and violence are on the increase and life is tough. With the courage found in her children, Busisiwe helps to educate the young about being safe on the streets.”

Anti-lesbian violence elsewhere in Africa: 

Odorkor Lesbians in Hiding after vicious attacks, as violence against lesbians continues in Accra, Ghana with ongoing police inaction. The violence includes torture by local youth.

Attacks in Swaziland are on the rise with a young lesbian killed in Nhlangano, Swaziland in a horrific hate crime.


Representation Matters – Julie Enszer, Poet, scholar and curator of the Lesbian Poetry Archive Speaks on the stories we tell and why they matter

Anniversary of a lesbian murder – Kitty Genovese died 51 years ago in a vicious hate crime against women.

Longtime political activist Jean Hardisty dies

“Jean was a force in the lives of all who knew her. A visionary, she anticipated many of the political and economic shifts the country has endured over the past several decades. Undaunted by the implications of her insights, she dedicated herself tirelessly—and with uncommon skill, humor, and compassion—to the cause of social justice. She was a friend, mentor, colleague, and inspiration to us, and to countless people and organizations.”

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to The Highlander Center, highlandercenter.org or to the Boston Women’s Fund, bostonwomensfund.org .

Lesbian Couple Denied services – Community rallies after Wedding Video denied The big question is – would the community rally if what was demanded was not quite so conforming with standard community values??

Lesbian Movies – the struggle to stay relevant – perhaps more support from the broader community would also help, as indicated by the fact that Perth film maker Tessa Rooney runs an independent lesbian film festival Dyke Drama after the Pride Film Festival failed to show a single lesbian movie

Meanwhile Last call chronicles New Orleans Lesbian bars.

Tasmania, Australia: Schools to be given option to reject students – will sexuality be targeted? 

US Reform Rabbis first Openly Lesbian Leader

Toronto Canada: hate crimes rise by 11%

California’s LGBT Caucus files complaint against OC lawyer who wants to “kill the gays”. Unfortunately, it seems that the petition is hard to stop

Interesting information on why lesbians and gays often don’t live in the same suburbs – the gendered wage gap contributes to the phenomenon…

LGB groups march in Boston St Patrick’s Day parade after years of opposition

NSFW: footage of homophobia at previous marches in the 90s.

Baptist College stands firm on married lesbian bishop speaker: “true Christians” advocate social justice 

Changing Irish views on Same sex marriage Mark decrease in homophobia?

Specialist Toolkit Aimed at helping prevent Lesbian and Gay youth suicides as suicide and self harm rates rise

Puerto Rico may drop opposition to same-sex marriage

Australia: Gold Coast lesbian wins right to be mother of non-biological child

Islamic scholars in Indonesia push for death penalty for sex abuse and gay and lesbian ‘crimes’

US: Cross Burned on lesbians’ Lawn

US: In 16 states, same-sex couples can legally marry and then later that day get fired from their job for doing so. Federa; Panel Discusses LGB protections. 

Celibacy no longer demanded of San Francisco’s Evangelical City Church

Homophobia in the US – what’s it like for LGBT refugees?

Maryland US – A bill that on fertility treatment access for married lesbians progresses and will be voted on this week. 

US: Lesbian sacked for starting a family


Please send me information on any lesbian news I have missed at liz@listening2lesbians.com.