Responding to the psycho-social needs of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) community

Gay & Lesbian Network

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Gay & Lesbian Network is inviting all interested medical, mental health care practitioners, psychologists and non-profit organisations to a Transgender training session in Pietermaritzburg on Sunday, 1st July 2018.

The details are as follows:

Sunday 1 July 2018, 11am

St Alpheges Church, Scottsville, Pietermaritzburg

Transgender persons experience multiple barriers to accessing health and healthcare services, including discrimination based on gender identity, gender expression, bodily characteristics and sexual orientation.  A general lack of awareness, knowledge and sensitivity in healthcare communities leads to  inadequate access to, under-utilisation of, and disparities with the healthcare system for the transgender population.

Barriers to care are encountered by transgender and gender diverse persons when seeking preventive medicine or routine and emergency care, and trans-related services. These realities continue to be reported worldwide and South Africa is no different. There also continues to exist a disparity between the available and standard of gender affirming healthcare within South Africa itself.

The workshop is structured around peer-to-peer training session focused on awareness-raising and the sensitising of providers to the needs of transgender and gender diverse persons accessing health care. Aspects addressed in the training will include the following:

  • Introduction to gender affirming healthcare
  • Informed consent, ethical guidelines and person-centred care
  • Gender affirming hormone therapy and surgery
  • Gender affirming mental healthcare
  • Legal gender recognition

This training aims to close the gap that exists between quality healthcare service provisioning and the ability of transgender and gender diverse persons to effectively and adequately access such services within geographical areas. The presenters are Chris/tine McLachlan (Clinical Psychologist) and Elma de Vries (family physician and senior lecturer at University of Cape Town)

There is a R100 fee for the training. To apply, please complete the application form and email it by 25 June to

Please click here for application form

Our Annual General Meeting was a successful event and many of our supporters and allies attended. Our Programme staff gave feedback on the work that they have been doing. There were presentations from our chair, director and finance manager. Our very own Rainbow Theatre Group did a very moving performance, one that brought some of the audience members to tears.

We had special appearances by our members of our community based organisation, which our Outreach programme has been working closly with.

Siya Khumalo, author of the book titled You Have To Be Gay To Know God, was there to promote his book and do a book signing. He donated a copy of his book to Gay & Lesbian Network and it can be hired from our resource center (Friends of the network Member’s only).

To view our Annual report, please click here.

You can view the performance from the Rainbow Theatre Group here.

You Have To Be Gay To Know God is available on Amazon, Raru, Graffiti Books, and Exclusive Books.



The Gay & Lesbian Network is outraged that the Film and Publications Board has given Inxeba (The Wound) an X18 rating for age restriction– a rating that is normally given to hardcore porn.

“It is shocking! This completely goes against the constitution of South Africa” exclaimed the director of the Gay & Lesbian Network, Anthony Waldhausen.

Section 16 of the constitution states that “Everyone has the right to freedom of expression, which includes freedom of the press and other media; freedom to receive or impart information or ideas; freedom of artistic creativity; and academic freedom and freedom of scientific research.” It also contains the following limitations to freedom of expression “The right in subsection (1) does not extend to propaganda for war; incitement of imminent violence; or advocacy of hatred that is based on race, ethnicity, gender or religion, and that constitutes incitement to cause harm.

There have been protests against the film, especially in the Eastern Cape, where Traditional Leaders have expressed concern that the film had ‘inaccurately portrayed the Xhosa initiation tradition and flouted cultural norms and practices’. The commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities have recently argued that the film is “blasphemous to the sacred rituals of initiation” and said the use of Jesus Christ and King Shaka Zulu “poses a concern in our young democracy and the film may incite violence”.

On 14 February it was announced that “The Film and Publication Board (FPB) Appeal Tribunal has overturned the classification rating of 16 [for language and sex] that was given to the film Inxeba – The Wound and gave it a rating of X18 with the classifiable elements of Sex, Language, Nudity, Violence and Prejudice.”

The film has claimed eight South African Film and Television Awards (Safta) nominations, including Best Actor, Best Directing and Best Film. It has also won 19 awards at 44 festivals in more than 25 countries, including South Africa. The film was shortlisted for this year’s Academy Awards in the category of Best Foreign Language Film. However, it did not make onto the final nominations list.

Inxeba premiered in competition at the Sundance Film Festival in 2017. It tells the story of Xolani, a lonely factory worker, who joins the men of his community in the mountains of the Eastern Cape to initiate a group of teenage boys into manhood.  When a defiant initiate from the city discovers Xolani’s best-kept secret, a closeted love affair, his entire existence begins to unravel.

The Gay and Lesbian Network will be working with other LGBTI organisations and allies in South Africa to exert pressure on the Film and Publications Board to reverse its decision, said Waldhausen. We urge everyone to sign an online petition at

We would also like to invite the public to a screening and discussion on Saturday 24 February at the Univerysity of KwaZulu Natal (Pietermaritzburg Campus) at the William O’Brian hall at 2pm.


It’s that time of year when love is in the air- Valentine’s Day! We have some great simple and affordable ideas that you can use to show those you love how much they mean to you. And this doesn’t just mean your partner or crush- you can also show yourself, your friends, family and even your pets that you appreciate them!

For your partner or crush:

  • Leave a note in his or her briefcase or purse so they’ll see it when they get to work.
  • Make your own Newlyweds-style game: write down questions like “Where did we have our first kiss?” and “What’s my favorite movie?” See if your answers match.
  • Give a massage or back scratch (without expecting one back).
  • Try something new in the bedroom.
  • Have a scavenger hunt, even if it’s just around the house: leave clues and have a sweet surprise at the end.
  • Go on a walk and talk about your favorite memories.
  • Take a romantic bubble bath together.
  • Have a picnic at their favorite outdoor place.
  • Teach each other something. Does your partner know Photoshop? Do you know play the guitar? Spending quality time together by teaching each other something new will bring you closer together.
  • Re-create your first date.
  • Write down a list of the qualities you love most about them — things you don’t mention on a daily basis but that mean a lot to hear.
  • Turn off your cell phone, TV and computers and spend the night playing board games or card games instead.
  • A hand written card and personalised coupons are free and fun!
  • Make a playlist of all of the songs that remind you of your significant other.

For yourself:

Never forget to love yourself! Self-love counts as anything that makes you happy and aids to your health and well-being.

  • Take a long, hot, bubble bath by candle light.
  • Get yourself some flowers or a single rose.
  • Pamper yourself with a body treatment, or go for one at your local spa.
  • Watch your favourite movie or listen to your favourite music.
  • Say at least three positive things about yourself.
  • Remind yourself of everything that you have to be grateful for.
  • Spend time with people that you care about.
  • Do something that makes your soul happy. You may want to do some yoga or meditation, or spend some special time praying.

For your friends and family:

  • Buy a bag of chocolates or make some heart shaped cookies and give one to all of your special people.
  • If you can afford it, get them a small gift to show your appreciation.
  • Write them a letter or make a card. Even a small note will let them know you care!
  • Send them a special text on the day.
  • Volunteer together at an organisation that you support.
  • Have a craft day. You may want to have a look on the internet for some ideas that everyone would enjoy doing.
  • Go hiking at your favourite outdoor spot.
  • Have a picnic with simple, healthy food.
  • Have a game night! Good old fashioned board games and card games means the whole family can take part.

For your pets:

  • Do something they enjoy. Play ball with your dog or take him for a walk; give your cat some catnip or play with them; let your hamster run in his ball. Each pet will enjoy different activities, but be such they are having fun!
  • Spoil them with a special treat. Just be sure that whatever you give them is healthy, and this means staying away from candy! You can also search the internet for special recipes for your specific type of pet.
  • Get them something new- a new toy, a new jersey or bowl- the list is endless.
  • Take them to the parlour. Just be sure you use one that is reputable and take note of how they treat your pet. Your pet’s behaviour will also give you insight as to how they are treated.
  • Arrange for a professional photo shoot. Although your phone is probably already full of cute pictures of your pets, professional pet portraits are something you can cherish forever.

Whatever you plans are for this Valentine’s Day, be sure to do it with love.

Here is a video that highlights the work that we do and the difference that we can make in the lives of others.

We would like to thank the European Union and Fireworx Media for all their help!

Two men who brutally raped a young woman who identifies as a lesbian have been released on bail.

The Gay & Lesbian Network team, as well as members of the LGBTI+ community were at the court to support the young girl, raise awareness and advocate for justice to be served.


A 17 year old girl from Watersmeet, just outside of Ladysmith, who is open about her sexual orientation (she identifies at a butch lesbian) was viciously attacked and raped by two men who reside near her home. This is the third time in her young life that she has been raped by men who believe that savagely raping a lesbian will ‘turn her heterosexual’ and make her ‘a real women’.

This is known as ‘corrective rape’ which is the use of rape against people who do not conform to perceived social norms regarding human sexuality or gender roles. This means that the rape was premeditated, intentional and accompanied by malicious aforethought.

The bail hearing for the alleged rapists, one is 22 years old and the other is 20 years old have continuously been postponed, and today (4 December 2017) at the Magistrates Court in Ladysmith, bail was set at a measly R1000 for each perpetrator. It is alleged that this is the second time that that one of the perpratators has raped the victim. The hearing will be held on 26 January.

The Gay & Lesbian Network (GLN) is deeply saddened by this news. The GLN team have been supporting the young lady in terms of reporting the case to the National Task Team and the Rapid Response Team, both of whom respond to Hate Crimes. The case has being heard during the 16 days of activism against gender based violence. Londeka Xulu, the Outreach Programme coordinator at GLN says “It is devestating to see how the LGBTI+ community is still at such a risk. In terms of the law, we are protected, but in reality we aren’t.”

A hate crime is an offence by which a person is motivated on the basis of that person’s prejudice, bias or intolerance towards the victim of the hate crime in question because of one or more characteristics or perceived characteristics of the victim. GLN have also been counselling her and have referred her for further help.

One needs to take into account the nature of the rights of the victim and the nature of the crime; the severity of the emotional and psychological damage, as well as the fact that the impact of hate crimes and hate speech extend beyond the victim, and to the group to which the victim belongs or is perceived to belong.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of a hate crime, please contact GLN for free counselling and referrals for further assistance if required. We also offer workshops for various stakeholders as well as sensitization training.

GLN is a registered Non-Profit Organisation which does pioneering work with the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) other marginalised communities and people. We aim to create a non-discriminatory, supportive and accepting society in which members of all communities are uplifted and developed. This is done though our various programmes.

You can help us continue the work that we do by assisting with donations and/or volunteering. Please call 033 342 6165 or email for more information.

28th November, 10am-4 pm, at Glen Ridge Church

For the first time, and as part of the KwaZulu-Natal Premier’s programme for 16 days of activism, religious fraternities and key stakeholders will have a chance to engage with survivors of sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) on their experiences when seeking support from them.

An event is co-hosted by the Phephisa Survivors Movement together with We Will Speak Out SA Coalition and a number of other partners in KZN (KwaZulu Christian Council and its regional partners, Diakonia Council of Churches, Religions for Peace, KwaZulu Christian Council, the Gay and Lesbian Network and Lifeline).

The two main objectives are that survivors in KZN will receive better support and experience less stigmatization; and that there will be improved synergies between faith leaders and other stakeholders in both prevention efforts and support for survivors at provincial and local community levels.

The programme is split into two parts. The first session is a dialogue between faith leaders and members of a growing SGBV survivor movement in KZN, to help faith leaders respond to the survivors’ sharing of their experiences when seeking help from their faith communities. It will open a space for faith leaders to discuss practical ways to contribute to the broad sector that is engaged in various ways to prevent and respond to sexual and gender based violence.

The second session is a ‘multilogue’ – an open space for participants to address challenges experienced by survivors when seeking the services of a variety of stakeholders and how best to ensure improved continuity of services between public services and those (potentially) offered at local community level.

This session will end with a shared draft skeletal action plan to contribute into the Provincial 365 days Action Plan for 2018. It will propose concrete mechanisms for building on current good practices and improve synergies, while addressing key gaps to effectively tackle underlying drivers of SGBV in prevention efforts.

Ethekwini Mayor, Her Worship Ms Zandile Gumede and the Office of the Premier will address the gathering, attended by a wide spectrum of faith leaders, NGOs, Provincial service providers and other invited guests.

We Will Speak Out SA will also hold their Annual General Meeting from 8.30 to10am.

For more information, please contact Daniela 0724537502 or and for bookings, please contact or

Gay & Lesbian Network would like to extend our sincere congratulations to our Operational Manager, Pierre Buckley on your engagement to Rudy Cupido! We wish you both a life full of love, joy and wonderful moments together! All the best for your future together!



The Gay and Lesbian Network (GLN) would like to express our deepest gratitude for the kind donation from Mark Butler. He recently gave a very generous donation which will go towards the work that GLN does to ensure equality, respect and acceptance. GLN runs various programmes which take a holistic approach to improving the lives of marginalised communities, primarily the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) community. These programmes include outreach, health, research and a unique creating an enabling environment, which focuses on educating and sensitising various stakeholders.

Butler had the following to say’ “First of all, it’s a terrible indictment on us as a society, as a community, that the Network needs to exist at all. It really shouldn’t be too much to ask that, as humans first & fundamentally, all of us love all of us – without qualification, without reservation, without fear, and without hatred. But the truth is we do fail – repeatedly and systematically. Scourges like racism, sexism, elitism, xenophobia, and queer-&homo-phobia are much too commonplace. So there’s lots of work to be done to affirm everyone’s fundamental humanity and dignity; to challenge prejudice and hatred; and to comfort and heal the many who are hurt and damaged by our failures of love and humanity. Giving support – and cash – to organisations like ‘Maritzburg’s Gay and Lesbian Network is one part of that work.”

The money that he donated is extra special, as it comes from his late mother’s estate. GLN would like to take this opportunity to remind the public of our bequest programme, in which you are able to include GLN in your will.  You can always make a difference in someone else’s life by assisting in any way that you can, whether it is by donation of money, food, clothes or volunteering your time. As GLN is a non-profit organisation and relies on donations, all bequests and donations are exempt from tax.



Anthony Waldhausen – Director of Gay & Lesbian Network (left) and Qiniso Nonjabulo Ntuli – Finance Officer of Gay & Lesbian Network (right) accept the generous donation from Mark Butler (centre) on behalf of the Gay and Lesbian Network.

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