No freedom until we’re equal: Trans people share harrowing details of hate crimes against them and other members of the LGBTQ+ community

Members of the LGBTQI+ communities shared harrowing stories of hate crimes. Picture: Pexels

Members of the LGBTQI+ communities shared harrowing stories of hate crimes. Picture: Pexels

Published Jun 5, 2024


June is recognised globally as being Pride Month, this is period where the world celebrates people in the LGBTQI+ community while recognising the numerous struggles that they face and promoting ways to stop them.

In an event held at Umlazi, Q section by the KwaZulu-Natal legislature and TransHope, a non-profit organisation that advocates for the rights of transgender and gender diverse people in the province, members of the LGBTQI+ communities shared harrowing stories of hate crimes.

Founder of TransHope, Sazi Jali, a transwoman, said discrimination even goes to the workplace as LGBTQI+ people struggle to find, and even maintain employment.

Jali accused the police of causing secondary victimisation when they go to police stations to report incidents of assault over their sexual orientation or gender identity, where cops often ridicule them or dismiss their complaint.

“We do want to work and gain employment. There should be policies that ensure that we, like other South Africans, are afforded the opportunities to do so,” she said.

In a panel discussion, four individuals came forward to share their harrowing experiences with homophobia and transphobia.

Individuals who shared their experiences with transphobia. Picture: Xolile Mtembu

Wandile Khumalo was lured by someone from a dating app. When he arrived at the residence he was met by multiple men who tied him up, beat him, took his phone and bank card.

“I gave them my passwords and my banking pin ... They Ubered me home and proceeded to clean out my bank account,” Khumalo said.

Another victim was Linethi Hlatshwayo, a transwoman who said she was being constantly beaten and harassed by a man in her community. According to Hlatshwayo, the man used his mental illnesses to excuse his behaviour.

Lulu Zikode, another transwoman, said that she has been at the receiving end of numerous attacks and harassment.

“I was with my boyfriend in a car. We were just minding our business. They came to the vehicle, knocked on the window and asked what shameful acts we were committing.

“They drove us to my home. They yelled at my parents from outside the house. They asked them what deplorable acts have I committed. They took off with my boyfriend.”

Police spokesperson Warrant Officer, Mmoko Mophoring said that they deal with community-related crimes, and only the courts decide whether an act is classified as a hate crime.

“As a police officer, when collecting a statement on an allegation, don’t ask the person if they are gay or lesbian.

“We simply write down the allegations and hand the case number to the person. This is to avoid secondary victimisation,” said Mmoko.

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