LGBT and the deaf challenges

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As the nation celebrates the Human Rights Month, some organisations and individuals have little to celebrate as they believe that their rights are still suppressed and discriminated against by society.

They allege that they feel marginalised by parts of society and accuse the government of failure to protect them.

The founder of Free Gender, Funeka Soldaat said they are losing hope in the country’s constitution.

She holds that as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community, they are not fully protected by government as their members become victims of various forms of discrimination.

“To the LGBT community, Human Rights is a pipe dream … Too far to be realistic. As long our constitution is still homophobic and doesn’t protect us (LGBT) we have nothing to celebrate,” Soldaat alleged.

She criticized the courts for failing to protect them and allowing them to be the victims of society.

“We have about five cases in front of court regarding the killing of our people in Lwandle and Khayelitsha.

Those cases have been dragging for years … We used to protest in public, but have now decided to keep quiet and deal with our problem silently,” she said.

She has urged LGBT community not to stop fighting for their rights.

“People must understand that a lesbian is also a human being and we demand our rights. And all the lesbians must stand up and fight for what is best for them, including their human rights,” said Soldaat.

  • Another issue is that of deaf children.

Ayanda Ncinane, principal at Noluthando School for the Deaf said they feel that their children are discriminated against by society.

“Children living with disabilities are not treated the same way as the so-called normal children.

In many cases, discrimination starts at home where parents treat them differently from other children … Some parents do not even want the school bus to be inscribed with our school’s name, they are ashamed,” said Ncinane.

He also accused government of marginalizing schools for disabled children.

“Even the Education Department doesn’t give us enough support as the mainstream schools.

In the mainstream schools are subject advisers who visit schools three times a year whereas none come to our schools,” he said.

Ncinane also raised the matter of children with autism.

“As per government policy, when a child turns 18-years-old, they must stay at home with nothing to do.

But as a school, we have a relationship with the I Can organisation, based in Belville, where we take some of our learners to further hone their skills,” said Ncinane.

I Can is a children’s communication charity, who are experts in helping children develop their speech, language and communication skills.

Their mission is that no child should be left out or behind because of difficulty speaking or understanding.

Ncinane said they are planning an open day, where they will invite parents.

“Parents need to support us … They don’t come to fetch children’s reports. They don’t even come to school meetings,” he said.

This article was first published on news24.com