September 9, 2014 – Reported by ispsnews.net – UNITED NATIONS – Eighteen-year-old Gift Makau enjoyed playing and refereeing football games in her neighbourhood in the North West Province of South Africa. She had come out to her parents as a lesbian and had never been heckled by her community, according to her cousin.
On Aug. 15 she was found by her mother in a back alley, where she had been raped, tortured and killed.
“Homophobia becomes both a ruse and a distraction from other real substantive issues, whether those are economic or political.” — HRW’s Graeme Reid
Shehnilla Mohamed, Africa director for the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGHLRC), said that Gift’s murder was part of a disturbing trend in which gender-nonconforming individuals are targeted for so-called corrective rape.
“Corrective rape is really the attempt of the society to try to punish the person for acting outside the norm,” Mohamed said.
In the past 10 years in South Africa, 31 lesbians have been reported killed as the result of corrective rape, she said. A charity called Luleki Sizwe estimates that 10 lesbians are raped or gang raped a week in Cape Town alone.
Transgender, gay or effeminate men are also the subject of corrective rape, but they are less likely to be murdered and are less likely to report it.
If this is happening in South Africa, the only mainland African country to allow legal same-sex marriage, what is it like to be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) elsewhere on the continent?
“The type of brutality that you see happening to lesbians and to homosexuals in parts of Africa is just beyond comprehension,” Mohamed told IPS. “It’s like your worst horror movie, and even worse than that.” …