EVENTS ~ June 16, 2015
Speaking out on National Youth Day
South Africa, 13 June 2015
Thirty-nine years ago, on June 16, 1976 young learners from Soweto organized a national resistance campaign against Apartheid. The racially-segregated system meant that Black students were subjected to an inferior education system and Afrikaans was enforced as a language of instruction. Equally, young people witness how their families suffered under the Apartheid system. June 16, 1976 was the turning point against the Apartheid state.
This year, on June 16, South African learners are a different generation. They are called the post-Mandela kids, meaning that they were born in the 1990s. Despite being born into a democracy, young Lesbian, Gay, Trans* and Intersex learners face immense challenges in their school environments. Often, schools enforce gender roles and stereotypes by instructing learners to wear school uniforms that are aligned to being female or male at birth. Young learners face immense stress from learners and teachers who bully and harass them based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. Ignorance is rife at school and the national government department has not developed policies to reduce stigma and to ensure greater safety and privacy at schools.
This year, Iranti along with LGBTI organizations within Gauteng, Limpopo and the North West are speaking out against homophobia and transphobia at schools. Their actions are calling on the national education department to prioritise these issues at a national level.
In partnership with AmarightZA and Foundation for Human Rights, we developed a series of poster messages that we aim to distribute at schools. Ongoing meetings are being held among learners and educators.