Justice and Constitutional Development Minister, Ronald Lamola, has congratulated leading civil society organisations, Gender Dynamix and IRANTI, for securing the rights to host the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex Association (ILGA) World Conference.

The conference will be held in Cape Town in 2024 and represents the world’s largest gathering of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, queer, intersex and asexual+ (LGBTQIA+) persons.

The conference was last held on African soil at least 25 years ago in Johannesburg.

The Minister said this was a significant move towards furthering inclusivity in South Africa.

“With help from civil society organisations such as Gender Dynamix and IRANTI we are constructing a truly inclusive society – one which not only accepts, but celebrates diversity, where people can be themselves no matter what their sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, sex characteristics may be and where everyone has the same enjoyment of their human rights,” Lamola said.

The department said the bid is indicative that the country still “has much work to do” to protect and promote the rights of LGBTQIA+ persons in communities.

“Despite our progressive laws and legislation, discrimination, prejudice, and violence on the basis of a person’s sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics still exists.

“We have no doubt that this platform will enable us as society to heighten our institutional mechanisms and to address societal attitudes so as to prevent homophobia, transphobia, and the general violation of human rights in our communities,” the department said in a statement on Tuesday.

This as the world today marks International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT), the department called on communities to respect the rights of LGBTQIA+ persons.

“IDAHOT commemorates the World Health Organisation’s decision in 1990 to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder [and] the Minister…encourages our communities to protect and promote the rights of LGBTIQ+ persons and to remember and honour those who have been attacked and killed as a result of their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression and sex characteristics,” the department said.

Source: South African Government News Agency