25 YEARS OF COSATU!!
We as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and inter-sexed people (LGBTI) activists salute the workers of South Africa as they celebrate 25 years of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU). We express our full support to the workers’ struggle for a living wage, decent work and social justice. We express our full solidarity for the workers’ struggle against the inhumane capitalist system that exploits workers, undermines women and marginalises LGBTI people.
We salute COSATU for its role in fighting apartheid, winning the country a new constitution that guarantees equality to LGBTI people. We salute COSATU in winning new labour laws that protect workers and outlaw workplace discrimination. We say VIVA to COSATU for defending democracy and advancing workers’ rights. We say Amandla to COSATU for supporting the struggle for affordable HIV/AIDS treatment! We also are 100% behind the COSATU effort to root out corruption in government and the private sector.
Workers are our parents, our sisters, our brothers. Many workers are also part of the LGBTI community. In COSATU, our LGBTI comrades have a home. In COSATU, we know that we have a principled and dependable ally in the struggle against homophobia and discrimination against LGBTI people in South Africa, Africa and the rest of the world.
As we celebrate 25 years of COSATU, we are saddened by the actions of the South African government in failing to take a principled stand against homophobia. On 16th November 2010, South Africa’s representatives at the United Nations General Assembly voted to exclude “sexual orientation” from a resolution on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions of people. South Africa’s vote violates our Constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
This vote is an insult to the tens of lesbians murdered in our country’s townships in the last few years and to thousands of LGBTI who are facing harassment, attack and discrimination across our continent. This vote endorses the homophobic statements, draft laws and actions being proposed by various governments such as Kenya, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
We therefore call on COSATU to use its anniversary and other platforms to join the global condemnation of this stance of the South African government. We call on COSATU to join the call on government to issue a public apology for this vote and to issue a statement reaffirming equality on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity to all South African Missions abroad.
As comrades in struggle, we call on the COSATU to advance the rights, interests, needs and demands of the LGBTI people, workers and communities in South Africa. We call on COSATU to actively and publicly oppose anti-progressive agendas and attacks on the rights of LGBTI people. We call on COSATU to work with LGBTI organisations to create spaces for LGBTI members within COSATU. We offer to work with COSATU and all its affiliates to advance all the above goals. For all we have said here, we say 100 more years of COSATU!
Halala COSATU Halala!
Phansi homophobia phansi! Phansi xenophobia phansi!
Viva freedom! Viva equality! Amandla Awethu!
Issued by the Lesbian Gay Equality Project
Contact us on (011) 487 3811; Fax: (011) 487 2332
Working for Social, Economic and Political Transformation!