21 September 2009
TO : Comrade Zwelinzima Vavi
Congress of South African Trade Unions
MESSAGE OF SUPPORT AND OPEN LETTER TO THE 10TH COSATU CONGRESS
FROM LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, TRANSGENDERED AND INTER-SEXED PEOPLE:
SOLIDARITY, UNITY, STRUGGLE AND EQUALITY FOR ALL
We as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and inter-sexed people (LGBTI) activists in the human and legal rights sector, feminists, trade unions, activists in the women and HIV/AIDS sectors as well as individuals from diverse backgrounds, hereby salute COSATU as it holds its 10th Congress. We express our full support to the workers’ struggle for a living wage and decent work. We express our full solidarity in the struggle against the inhumane capitalist system that exploits workers, undermines women and marginalizes LGBTI people.
As comrades in struggle, we call on the COSATU 10th Congress to advance the rights, interests, needs and demands of the LGBTI people, workers and communities in South Africa. Consequently we call on the COSATU 10th Congress to:
• Fully and publicly affirm the rights of LGBTI people as full and equal citizens;
• Make the recognition of the full rights of LGBTI people as full and equal citizens a living reality;
• Fully and publicly affirm LGBTI issues as part of gender issues instead of the current silence in gender debates on LGBTI issues as well as address the hetero-sexist bias against LGBTI issues;
• Actively and publicly oppose anti-progressive agendas and attacks on the rights of LGBTI people;
• Commit to defend and protect Human Rights Defenders in the country;
• Address the exclusion of the reality, concerns, interests and needs of LGBTI people in the programmes and policies on HIV/AIDS;
• Address the exclusion of the reality, concerns, interests and needs of LGBTI people in the delivery of all services and opportunities in our society
• Take effective and consistent action to eliminate hate speech against LBGTI people;
• Issue a public declaration against hate crimes and speech against LGBTI people;
• Create a climate of openness and non-discrimination within COSATU in order to make it possible for LGBTI members to come out and claim their space;
• Create an open forum of LGBTI members within COSATU
WE STAND FOR NON-RACIALISM, NON-SEXISM, GENDER EQUALITY AND SOCIO-ECONOMIC JUSTICE.
As LGBTI people, we are also democrats who are committed to non-racialism, non-sexism, gender equality, and socio-economic justice. We oppose racism. We are concerned and affected by the gendered and racialised socio-economic inequalities we see in our homes and communities which despite the promise of constitutional equality reproduce inequality and under-development. We are angry at the extremely high and misogynist levels of violence against the women and children of our country.
As LGBTI people, we recommit ourselves to political engagement with the ANC and all political parties who espouse vibrant and self-sustaining popular democracy. We also commit ourselves to continue struggle for a democracy that brings about full social liberation, justice, equality, and a South Africa free from all forms of social oppression, discrimination and exclusion. We will take these demands and our commitments to every structure of COSATU.
We wish you all the best for the 10th Congress.
Phumi Mtetwa Mazibuko Jara
Director Chairperson of the Board
Lesbian and Gay Equality Project