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Celebrating Human Rights Day: Amplifying LGBTQ+ Voices and Rights

Human Rights Day serves as a poignant reminder of our collective responsibility to uphold the rights and dignity of every individual, regardless of their background or identity.

In commemorating this significant day, the Ubunye Foundation is shining a spotlight on the experiences and challenges faced by one incredible member of the LGBTQ+ community, Asekhona Booi, affectionately known as Seki, a proud member of the Pikoli Community, a rural village in Ngqushwa Municipality in the Eastern Cape. 

 

What is truly remarkable about Seki is that he is 17 years old, living as openly gay for the past three years and single-handedly leading the way for LGBTQ+ people in this rural and very traditional Xhosa community.

 


He is AMAZING!

 


“I have not questioned my identity, so it was not difficult to come out to my family. I remember the first time telling them; they did not know that I was gay. In the beginning my dad did not accept it he used to take my clothes and burn them. But I decided that no one can tell me what to do because this is who I am and this is my personality. My dad has started to accept me now, he has realised that he cannot change who I am.”

 

Here are some poignant insights from our conversation with Seki and his life being an openly gay individual navigating the intricacies of societal acceptance, legal protections, and personal identity: 

 

Challenging Discrimination: Despite strides in LGBTQ+ rights legislation in South Africa, discrimination and prejudice persist.

“Everyone needs to know that we have a right to share our voice and they need to hear our voice and what we have to say or what we do, especially with people that discriminate us because it is not right, but we all need to accept that we are still human beings.”

 

Navigating Societal Norms: Seki has immense courage in asserting his identity and highlights the significance of self-acceptance and resilience in the face of societal expectations.

“I tell people who I am. They must know who you are and they must respect your personality, especially with your aunts that do not believe in who you are.”

 

Addressing stereotypes and misconceptions: Seki's assertiveness and strength in advocating for a change in attitudes is unyielding.

“There are a lot of people that talk about my sexuality, especially men. Men are so discriminatory against gay people and they do not support us at all. It is hard to avoid because they assume you have an agenda if you even try to talk to them. They call us names and insult us by names. They need to stop calling us by those names and they need to stop posting us on social media that being gay people is wrong. People think that we cannot be friends with other men because all we want is to be in a relationship with them when that is not true. We can be friends with men without wanting more.”

 

 And Seki’s message to us all on this day of celebrating Human Rights:

 

“Firstly, people need to accept us as people who are part of the LGBTQ+ community. Secondly, people need to accept that we are human beings like them and they need to accept our experiences and that we need them to support us.”

 

South Africa has made significant strides in legalizing LGBTQ+ rights, but the journey towards true equality is far from over. Let us honour Human Rights Day by reaffirming our commitment to justice, dignity, and equality for all.

 

Be like Seki—be an ally, an advocate, and a beacon of hope for a brighter, more inclusive future.

Together, let's make every day a celebration of human rights and LGBTQ+ pride.

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