South Africa's LGBTI newspaper since the 1980's

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Highs & lows of 2014

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During 2014 we saw more sports people and performing artists coming out of the closet than ever before, and we also saw many more straight people such as Nick Jonas and James Franco expressing support for the gay community. At the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scottish leader Alex Salmond and UK Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg urged all competing nations to repeal homophobic laws and to uphold Article 7 (non-discrimination) of the Commonwealth Games Constitution.

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Is there a hole in your bucket list?

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Here we are again. I am officially a year older, not a whole lot wiser and sporting a few extra scars, bumps and bruises but here we stand. We made it! A moment of thought as usual for all those we lost along the way – and it was a big year wasn't it? Funny man Robin Williams took his place in the heavens and perhaps my biggest wake up call for 2014 was the death a Diva and absolute legend, Joan Rivers, who was featured on my bucket list at number 11: Interview Joan Rivers.

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And this got me thinking. Every year we wax lyrical about new years resolutions, about how thin we are going to get and how rich we are going to get and how I was going to get married and have the husband, the kid, the pug and the cat and go on fantastic holidays to the coast and the Champagne valley – and where am I? I'm sat under fluorescent lighting in a call centre in Benoni, phoning my throat hoarse trying to sell wine and I'm thinking – fml this where I was last year too!
No that's a lie. I started my own business. Making cakes. So now I have two jobs, which means that I'm working 14 hours a day instead of 8 and still can't afford to pay my bills. Something is very very wrong with this picture!

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And...Cut! A double circumcision story

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Circumcision is a controversial topic. Pros and cons exist for men who are cut, and men who are not. In 2007, I decided to get cut. I had a number of reasons, amongst them that I prefer the way cut dicks look, personal hygiene, and that I'd heard that I would have 60% less chance of contracting HIV, should I ever have unprotected sex.

I had inherited some money after two of my grandparents had died, and I decided to use it for the procedure. As I wanted to do it properly, I asked around and got the number of a reputable urologist in Cape Town. His receptionist told me that he was fully booked until the end of the year, but recommended another urologist who shared the premises. He was suspiciously available for the whole of the following week. I should have seen the red flag.

I met him, we seemed to be on the same page, and he appeared decent enough, so I felt no reservations about him doing renovations on my manhood. I had requested that he not make the procedure too "tight", and that he leave me some "give", because I had heard (from a good friend) that it was better that way. "No problem", he replied, and in a flash I was in the hospital to become a cabriolet model.

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The Reality Of Being Gay In South Africa

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Despite having some of the most progressive LGBT legislation in the world, the everyday life of South Africa's gay community is still rife with prejudice."


South Africa promotes itself on various tourism websites as the only LGBT-friendly country in Africa. Whilst this may be technically correct on a legislation level, the reality is really quite different. It is true that major cities, such as Cape Town and Johannesburg, do have thriving gay communities while multinational South African companies also employ some LGBT employees. However, outside of these international hubs, the everyday life of gay people within South Africa is still rife with abuse, prejudice and judgement.

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Appearances can be deceptive

This is not the first time that the South African government has promoted liberal laws while undermining them through its actions and comments. For example, the government took a moralistic stance on online gambling within South Africa, refusing to legalise its use within the country. This was despite South African online casinos – which you can read a history of at  http://www.gamblingafrica.com/indepth/history-of-online-casino-gambling.asp becoming massively popular within the online gambling sector. The government's refusal to allow this casinos online sector access to the domestic market, whilst benefiting from its economic contributions and racking up huge expenses in discussing the issue, was seen as hypocritical by some commentators. Similarly, with regards to the LGBT community, president Jacob Zuma commented in the past that same-sex marriage was a disgrace to the nation and to God, despite supposedly representing a country supportive of its gay citizens.

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Elton John supports local gay men to combat HIV

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A new $7 million grant for the Anova Health Institute's Health4Men project to address HIV in South Africa's gay, bisexual and MSM (men who have sex with men) community has been announced in both Washington and Johannesburg. This significant international funding boost to expand MSM-targeted HIV-related services in South Africa is the result of a new partnership between the Elton John AIDS Foundation and the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

 

In Washington, Sir Elton John and American Secretary of State, John Kerry, announced the collaboration between the Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) and the U.S President's Emergency Fund for Aids Relief (PEPFAR) to support initiatives focusing on MSM in South Africa.

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