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There are people all over the world who feel they have to hide their sexuality, gender identity and sex characteristics; the stigma of shame, physical harm, rejection and a host of other struggles keeping them silent. This year on the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia their collective voices will be heard, breaking that silence. There are initiatives all over the world as well as here in South Africa bringing more awareness to the plight of the LGBTQ community.
How are we showcasing support against homophobia, transphobia, and biphobia?
Vodacom has a dedicated LGBT+ and Friends Network that tackles issues facing colleagues, customers, and co-partners on an ongoing basis. A silver award was given to Vodacom by the South African Workplace Equality Index (SAWEI), which places the company amongst the top 10 employers in South Africa that have equal and fair treatment for LGBT+ employees. Vodacom has also partnered with several LGBT+ rights organisations such as Same Love Toti and The Pride of Africa to give back to the community in various charitable events and community work.
"I am proud to work for a company that is purpose-led, and which advocates for the equal treatment of LGBT+ people both within the workplace and in the community. We are fortunate to live in a country where our rights are protected by our constitution, however, sadly South Africa is the only country in Africa that protects the rights of LGBT+ people. This International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia, I urge you to take an active stance in advocating against homophobia, transphobia, and biphobia. We are all African and our African brothers and sisters deserve the same rights that Nelson Mandela fought so bravely for. We fear things we don’t understand, this is a human quality, but once we know better we do better. We are all human. Get to know your neighbour, and you’ll quickly see how similar we all are.” - Kyle Smith, chairperson of the Vodacom LGBT+ and Friends network and Product Manager at Vodacom
"We would like to express our gratitude to Vodacom LGBTI & Friends Network, for the laptop that has been donated to Same Love Toti. Having an up to date model to work with, including the software, will greatly enhance productivity, and contribute to improving our service delivery. Part of our services includes presentations to empower the LGBTI community, designing material to facilitate Sensitisation/Diversity Workshops in various settings, and creating strategies to reach out to a wider audience. The donated laptop will be a tremendous asset in these activities. Thank you for enabling us to better serve the LGBTI community." - Kim Lithgow, Founder of the Same Love Support Group Toti
What can you do to show support?
Lockdown may limit physical interactions but it doesn’t stop you from using technology to show support. You could invite friends and family to an online discussion to discuss the meaning of this day on Zoom or Skype. Or do a live video on social media raising awareness about the harms of homophobia, transphobia, and biphobia.
On may17.org there is a Google document that is a collective of ideas by the global community. If you have creative ideas for ways to spread awareness about the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, during the lockdown, please add them here.