By Lawrence Mashiyane
It is February and, for those who care for such things as Valentine's Day, it is the month of Love. Some scurried throughout January to get someone 'special' and others are getting on the love train before the 14th. At the end of search, many will be on dates on the 14th and many will be having sex; others will probably be watching TV, but we are not interested in them for now (and clearly love isn't either). The interest is in the ones who will be on dates and/or having a shag. The interest is in what happens after Valentine's Day. After Valentine's Day, how long until the romance fizzles out and turns into a memory or worse, a one night stand? You're probably thinking not long and if you are then it means you know about the cloud that hovers over the gay community; our relationships do not last. Of course this stereotype or stigma does not apply to everyone in the gay community but, as I always say, stereotypes do not come from out of nowhere. They are not made up. Stereotypes are that big cloud of black smoke that let every one know there's a fire. It does not mean an entire building is burning, but it does mean a floor or two could be.
For any relationship to last, one thing is important and that one thing comes before love, trust and commitment/faithfulness. That one thing is compatibility. The problem with the gay community is that compatibility has been cut down to two simple things; sex role and behaviour/gender expression. "Are you top, bottom or versatile?" They ask. "Are you 'straight' acting or feminine?" Once those two questions are asked and the answers are the desired, everything is good to go! But truth is, it is not good to go. Not at all! I am not saying that those things are not important (although how greatly important is up for debate), I am saying that there is more to find out beyond those two. There is a lack of compatibility in Gay relationships and it is usually because people have two things in mind: Society and Sex.
Whether a guy is effeminate or not is usually a concern with society; especially if one is in the closet. Sometimes it is preference but also, some people prefer to be with more masculine or 'straight acting' guys because it is a lot less obvious and covert. When two guys walk down the street, looking all heterosexual, no one really thinks "oh look, there goes a gay couple" but the concern is if a guy walks with another guy who has a twist in his hips, a twang in his voice and speaks with swinging hands; it all looks too obvious. The feminine guy draws too much attention, the two guys walking together now stick out like a sore thumb. Even if some guys are 'open' and out of the closet, the still remain (if I can say) conservative. They do not want to put society on edge, draw the attention of homophobes and they believe that their sexuality is no body's business. A fear for being judged for being gay still exists.
The second concern is Sex. The "are you top, bottom or versatile question?" simply put is, "are we going to be able to fuck or not?" I reject any other interpretation, it simply amounts to that.
Men who have sex with men (MSM) are South Africa’s most at risk population for HIV acquisition and transmission. For this reason ‘WeTheBrave’, a sexual health campaign, has been launched with MSM in mind. This will be the first large scale campaign ever in this country to specifically address gay men and other men who have sex with men.
The launch event took place in Newtown, Johannesburg on Thursday 25 June with a who’s who of LGBT and HIV activists in attendance. They were entertained by a performance by Odidi Mfenyana and heard messages from Sir Elton John, Professor James McIntyre, and others.
Spearheaded by the Anova Health Institute, and funded by the Elton John AIDS Foundation, the WeTheBrave.co.za campaign will address both prevention and treatment issues in an affirming, non-judgemental and sex positive way, which will be entertaining and engaging.
The Hate Crimes Working Group and Peace Action, are concerned about the growing climate of violence in South Africa. The frequent and vicious outbreaks of xenophobic violence, violence against women and violence against the LGBTQI community, to name a few, are threatening the security of all who live in South Africa.
The increasing levels of intolerance and anger, expressed violently, have a devastating impact on those who are most vulnerable and marginalised in society - such as women, children, LGBTQI, foreigners and the destitute. The repeated xenophobic attacks during the past decade against refugees and other non-South Africans are adding to a culture of intolerance and resulting in violence, pain and suffering for victims of this violence. The government has failed to adequately respond to these incidents and do the work necessary to prevent continued incidences of xenophobic violence,
and to create a safe environment for non-South Africans living in South Africa.
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