No coverage for Mr Gay SA – Jan 25, 2010

Quoted from the News24 website:

Nelspruit  –  The South African media have been accused of being as homophobic as the The Pan Africanist Youth Congress of Azania (Payco), which issued a statement declaring that “Africa is not home to gays and lesbians”.

Spokesperson for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (Glaad), Christina Engela, noted that while the media were quick to cover the youth league’s utterances, they failed to cover the Mr Gay South Africa pageant in November.

“We saw plenty of mention of the Miss World pageant last month on the pages of various local community and national newspapers and of course, in TV coverage. Did we see any attention given Mr Gay South Africa, which the gay community found to be of some import, in any mainstream newspapers or hear radio coverage or see any TV features? I certainly didn’t,” said Engela.

She noted that news from the gay community was not considered “newsworthy” in the mainstream media unless it was controversial in some way.

Payco under fire

Payco has come under criticism from human rights organisations for their anti-gay statement last week.

“We are saying to hell with the South African Constitution for giving rights to gays and lesbians. Homosexuality is totally immoral and there is no place for gays and lesbians here,” Payco President Pitso Mphasha said.

Mphasha accused gays and lesbians of being people who are confused and mentally colonised by the Western imperialists who make them abandon their own cultures.

The Payco statement drew criticism from organisations like Gay and Lesbian Memory in Action, the South African Human Rights Commission and the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC).

Gay and Lesbian Memory in Action activist, Kamohelo Malinga, said the Payco was out of order.

“Across the African continent we find a wealth of evidence of same sex practices and relationships. These range from a 2000-year-old rock painting depicting male-male sex by the Bushmen, the original inhabitants of the region making up modern day Zimbabwe,” she said.

She said history also reveals marriage-like ceremonies that took place between Zulu men in Mkhumbane (Durban) in the 1940s and 1950s.

South African Human Rights Commission spokesperson Vincent Moaga said the Payco’s statement “should not be tolerated because it confuses and divides the nation”.

“This is more like hate speech and it will be investigated if we receive a formal complaint,” said Moaga.

Vuyiseka Dubula, general secretary of the HIV/Aids lobby group, the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), said: “The constitution recognises that everyone must be treated equally. Gay men and women have the same right to live in a respectful and free society because Africa is home for everyone”.

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