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

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The Pink Mynah Festival 2016 was a huge success! The festival, which was organised by the Gay & Lesbian Network and ran from 22-29 October, was split into various events which included an arts & film festival, a cheese & wine evening, the Pink Mynah Pageant and the Pink Picnic.

The Pink Mynah Photo & Film competition #MyRight2B was held at the KZN Museum as part of our Arts & Film Festival and voters had the chance to vote at the museum and online for their favourite photos and films. The winner of the photo competition is Nompumelelo Mphantsha and the winner of the video competition is Sbongiseni Mahlangu- for the video “I get beaten up, but I rise. I am titanium”

 

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The Pink Mynah Pageant was held at the Aha Imperial Hotel and people from all walks of life entered the Pageant. It was a very close call, but the judges decided on the winners after considering all the different categories- namely casual wear, formal wear, a talent section and a question and answer session, the winners were announced. The winner of Mr Pink Mynah 2016 is Andre Brahim, and the winner of Ms Pink Mynah 2016 is Sphesihle Memela.

 

We also had a raffle for a pair of Limited Edition Pride Shoes which are made in Spain. The raffle was held at the Pink Mynah Picnic at the YMCA on October 29. We would like to thank Qadasi & Maqhinga who assisted with the raffle draw on stage. The lucky winner of these awesome shoes is Mogotsi Letlhage.

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The Gay & Lesbian Network would like to congratulate all of the winners and thank everyone who took part in the various competitions. We would also like to thank the Department of Arts & Culture, Pride Shoes and all of the sponsors who made the Pink Mynah Festival 2016 great! A thank you to everyone who supported the Gay & Lesbian Network and to those who attended our events. All of your support is much appreciated.

 

 

The Pink Mynah Festival 2016 was a huge success! The festival, which was organised by the Gay & Lesbian Network ran from 22-29 October, was split into various events which included an arts & film festival, a cheese & wine evening, the Pink Mynah Pageant and the Pink Picnic.

The film screening was held at the KZN Museum and had the premiere screening of ‘This is my Rose’- a story of love, betrayal, romance and secrets. The aim of the Rose films is to use visuals or digital stories to share the intriguing indigenous knowledge on Gender Identity and Sexuality in the African context, and to sensitize the community at large with such issues and challenges. The exhibition also had some photos from the #MyRight2B photo competition which focuses on the positive stories of the local Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) community. Not forgetting the struggles that this community faces every day, there was also a Hate Crimes exhibition. Another highlight of the exhibition was the work of internationally renowned American photographer, Michael Ashby. Ashby’s ‘Alternative’, is a collection of portraits that have been shot using ambrotype, a 160-year-old form of “alternative photography.”

The Cheese & Wine evening was held at the Aha Imperial Hotel and was really a great event in terms of fundraising for the Gay & Lesbian Network. There were four members of staff who were actioned to the highest bidder for a lunch date. There was live entertainment and great wine from Holden Manz. This wine can still be ordered through the Gay & Lesbian Network.

The Pink Mynah Pageant was also held at the Aha Imperial Hotel and people from all walks of life entered the Pageant. It was a very close call this week, but the judges decided on the winners after considering all the different categories- namely casual wear, formal wear, a talent section and a question and answer session, the winners were announced. The winner of Mr Pink Mynah 2016 is Andre Brahim, and the winner of Ms Pink Mynah 2016 is Sphesihle Memela.

The Pink Mynah Parade, affectionately known as ‘Pietermaritzburg’s Pride’ was filled with colour as the LGBTI and allies marched from Market Square to the YMCA. The afternoon as jam packed with entertainment from the likes of Kwesta, Klutch Kollective, Joocy, DJ Le Soul and many more! The raffle for the limited edition Pride Shoes was done by Qadasi & Maqhinga, and the lucky winner is Mogotsi Lettage.

The Gay & Lesbian Network would like to thank everyone who supported the event and a huge thank you to the Department of Arts and Culture for their generous sponsorship. The Network would also like to thank all the artists, performers, all the people behind the scenes and to everyone who attended. This year’s Pink Mynah Festival has been the best one yet and we are looking forward to next year!

 

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Mr Pink Mynah 2016 Andre Brahim, Director of the Gay & Lesbian Network, Anthony Waldhausen and of Ms Pink Mynah 2016 Sphesihle Memela.

 

The Pink Mynah Street Parade was a big splash of colour!

 

To view more photos, please visit our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/glnpmb/photos

 

 

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Master’s art student, Rory Klopper, will be hosting an exhibition of his work at the Jack Health Gallery at the UKZN Centre for Visual Art on the 14th of October. The times are 5:30pm for 6pm and refreshments will be served. There is secure parking available and the artwork will be up for sale.

This exhibition concludes three years of Master’s work interrogating the self. The artist, Rory Klopper, explores his feelings regarding social structures that adhere to a particularised norm of which he finds himself unable to subscribe. Experiencing personal traumas led Klopper to resign from formal employment and take time to reflect upon how he perceives life. Re-entering academia at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, fine art’s department Klopper’s work navigates complex social structures that are primarily influenced by his homosexuality. As the ‘other’ always looking in his work evokes a sense of isolation and the bizarre. Confronted with heteronormative rubrics that aim to control and uphold certain ideologies Klopper actively deconstructs these codes in process of actualising his uniqueness. His work has come to explore concepts of queer theory, grotesque realism, and the cadaver exquisite to try understand who he is in the act of becoming.

The multiplicity of identity challenges how one understands one’s physical body in relation to the society in which one lives. One perceives oneself as a body that looks and behaves a certain way, but this body is an illusion of social enculturation. Klopper deconstructs his body and reinterprets its form to try and understand who he really is, in doing so he creates surreal creatures based on how he perceives himself within society. Life is full of obstacles, how one navigates these challenges informs the construction of one’s identity during transformation, thus it can be argued that identity is not static but rather in a state of flux.

One’s thoughts and feelings regarding how one perceives oneself are influenced by projections from those around us. Our multiplicity is foreground in and around corporeal action. We each have a story and we each have a unique way of perceiving our reality, Carl Jung describes this reality as personal myth believing that myth is more individual and expresses life more precisely than science. Klopper’s work explores his life journey – his pain and his joy – as his personal myth. His work does not offer answers to humanities existential questions, rather it is an intimate reflection of an individual who intuitively explores his emotions through tangible modes of creation, namely painting, drawing, cut-outs, photography, and assemblage.

A nervous breakdown early in 2014 led Klopper into the unknown, and it is in the unknowing of the self that Klopper has come to embrace the complexities of his multiplicity, and understand the contradictory aspects of his character. Who one is today cannot be who one will be tomorrow, we evolve in time and space continuously, informed each day by our lived experiences. Klopper’s work allows for elements of chance to unfold which he believes unveils the authentic self. Perfection does not interest him, the uncontrolled and flawed speak more closely to his reality. As a gay man Klopper is interested in the gendering of sexuality and explores this through colour and contour, his work expresses a desire to emancipate himself from social indoctrination that restricts individual fluidity. Body-modification performance artist Orlan claims that the body is obsolete, through his work Klopper explores ways of understanding at what point the body and self intersect in the formation of identity, and how awareness of this intersection can assist in the formation of a more enlightened version of oneself.

 

 

Rory Klopper with his creations Fat Man and Thin Man

 

 

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Pietermaritzburg’s annual Pink Mynah Festival is nearly upon us, and we are giving everyone a chance to win some great prizes! The Gay & Lesbian Network will be hosting the Pink Mynah Festival from the 22nd-29th of October. The programme includes a film & art exhibition, a cheese & wine evening, the Mr & Ms Pink Mynah Pageant, a fashion show and the much celebrated street parade.

 
The Gay & Lesbian Network is a non-profit Organisation based in Pietermaritzburg which advocates for equality, respect and acceptance of the LGTI community. The Pink Mynah Festival is our main fundraising event of the year and is proudly sponsored by the department of Arts & Culture and is endorsed by KwaZulu-Natal Tourism and the Msunduzi Pietermaritzburg Tourism Association.

 
As part of the festival, we are running a photo and film competition and are inviting everyone to submit photos or films of themselves in which they feel safe and supported within the context of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) community. The theme for the Pink Mynah Festival is #MyRight2B and so we are looking for photos and films of those who are ‘out and proud’, happy couples, and the supportive family and friends! These entries will form part of our film & art exhibition, which will be taking place on the 22nd of October. Entries for this competition close on the 30th of September so get snapping!

 
We are also appealing to anyone between the ages of 18 and 35 to enter our Pink Mynah Pageant. There will be two winners, Mr Pink Mynah and Ms Pink Mynah. However, we encourage you to enter the category in which you feel most comfortable, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. You do not need any modelling experience and this pageant is a great stepping stone to those who wish to advance in this field. Part of the entertainment for the night also includes a fashion show by local designers and performances by Drag Queens. Entries for the pageant close on the 14th of October, so be sure to enter soon!

 
Furthermore, we are holding a raffle for a pair of limited edition Pride Shoes. These gorgeous shoes are made in Spain and made from top quality materials. Tickets will be available until the 29th of October, when we will hold the draw at our Pink Mynah Picnic, which will take place at the YMCA after the street parade. We are also seeking sponsorship and donations from anyone who would like to contribute to this auspicious event.

 
With all of these great competitions, fabulous prizes to be won, and great entertainment in store- you just have to be sure to join in the festivities!

 

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The Gay and Lesbian Network ensures optimum commitment and services for the up liftmen and recognition of the Lesbian, Gay Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex (LGBTI) community in KwaZulu-Natal through creative programs that foster equality, respect and acceptance.

The Gay and Lesbian Network seek to appoint an Interviewer for a research project, based in Pietermaritzburg.

Requirements:

  • Matric/Grade 12, an appropriate diploma/degree would be advantageous
  • A minimum 2 years in the NGO sector
  • Traceable reference as an interviewer/ data collector
  • Experience in the H.I.V / AIDS field
  • Organizational and planning skills
  • Good computer skills
  • Excellent communication and networking skills
  • An understanding of the LGBTI Community
  • Competent in both English and isiZulu languages – written and verbal
  • Ability to work under pressure
  • Ability to work in and out of the office
  • Knowledge in qualitative research
  • Must be male and have M.S.M knowledge

All potential candidates may forward their motivational letter, CV and three traceable references to Nomhle Soni at research@gaylesbian.org.za or hand deliver at 19 Connaught Road, Scottsville, PMB. Enquires: 033-3426165

The closing date for applications is: 15 August 2016. To be appointed and commence work in September 2016

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The Gay & Lesbian Network attended Durban Pride over the weekend, where we all had loads of fun! The rain was not going to stop anyone from marching on and waving the rainbow colors as we took the beachfront.

For more photos click here to visit our Facebook page:  Facebook

The Gay & Lesbian Network hosted a local government election public meeting yesterday (14 July 2016) in Pietermaritzburg.

The aim of the public meeting was to provide an opportunity for those who are marginalized and vulnerable especially the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex (LGBTI) to engage with the major political parties on issues of concern to them with regards to local governance, service delivery issues and hate crimes. The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) was also invited to provide an overview of the election processes and voter education.

The following political parties confirmed their attendance: ANC, DA, IFP and EFF. The following party representatives were expected: Mzi Zuma (ANC); Martin Meyer (DA); Vusi Khoza (EFF) and IFP were yet to advise who they would send. The only party or representative that honoured the commitment was Martin Meyer of the DA.

Anthony Waldhausen, director of the Gay & Lesbian Network said, “The lack of commitment shown by a failure to attend gives the impression that politicians and their respective parties do not care about the LGBTI electorate and, possibly, the other vulnerable and marginalized sectors of the local population. The level of civil unrest in the country is unsurprising given the failure to engage with the electorate when suitable platforms are provided prior to the elections. It would therefore seem that the DA is the only party willing to engage with the LGBTI electorate ahead of the local government elections scheduled for 3 August 2016.”

With South Africa’s abstention from the UN Human Rights Council in respect of the Protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation, and gender identity resolution; this is a disappointing blow to the organizations that are working for the protection of lives of LGBTI people in South Africa.

Mr Waldhausen later commented that “We will keep attempting to engage various political parties throughout the year. We have accordingly extended an invitation to various political parties to march alongside us during the Street Parade in Pietermaritzburg on 28 October 2016 as part of the Pink Mynah Festival. This would be a welcome symbol of support and willingness to journey with us in making Pietermaritzburg the City of Choice, even for the vulnerable and marginalized.”

Sarah Rule, director of CREATE, a disability rights organisation based in Pietermaritzburg, said “ CREATE supports the Gay and Lesbian Network in its concern that the political parties do not deem vulnerable groups (including people with disabilities) sufficiently important for party representatives to attend this meeting. We are keen to build an informed electorate but the missing parties clearly do not have the same values”.

IMG_8008 (Large)From left: Dr Nonhlanhla Hlongwane (IEC), Jacquiline Mseleku-Khanyile (Moderator), Anthony Waldhausen (Director of Gay & Lesbian Network), Martin Meyer (Democratic Alliance) and Gugu Memela (IEC).

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The Rainbow Theatre Company, a project of the Gay & Lesbian Network, will be performing at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown. They will be performing “My Body, My Life, My Decisions”- a piece which looks at sexual orientation, gender identity and the prevalence of hate crimes within the South African context.

It incorporates contemporary dance, theatre, performance art and poetry to explore the stories of selected hate crimes which affect the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersexed (LGBTI) community in Southern Africa. Such crimes are motivated by prejudice and hate and include assault and corrective rape. There will be original images of well-known cases of such hate crimes to give voice to those victims and survivors who have been silenced. It is directed by Thobeka Bhengu and choreographed by Thobeka Bhengu and Smangaliso Mnguni, both of whom will also be performing.

The National Arts Festival is an important event on the South African cultural calendar, and the biggest annual celebration of the arts on the African continent. It runs for 11 days and is held in the small university city of Grahamstown, which is situated in the Eastern Cape. The programme is divided between the main and fringe performance programmes.

The Rainbow Theatre Company will be performing in the Fringe Programme, which gives upcoming artists and performers the chance to showcase their work. The event has always been open to all regardless of race, colour, sex or creed. The programme comprises drama, dance, physical theatre, comedy, opera, music, jazz, visual art exhibitions, film, student theatre, street theatre, lectures, craft fair, workshops, tours (of the city and surrounding historic places) and a children’s arts festival.

“We’re looking for actors, singers, comedians, poets, and anyone who wants to show off their talent to an appreciative and knowledgeable audience,” Fringe Manager Zikhona Monaheng said. “The Fringe is South Africa’s only truly open platform for artists – there is no selection process and everyone who believes in their work is welcome to take part,” Monaheng said. “It attracts artists from all over South Africa and from across our borders. International representation at the Fringe has grown steadily since the inception of the World Fringe Alliance – of which the National Arts Festival is a founding member. The Alliance is responsible for bringing in producers from Edinburgh, Amsterdam, Prague, Brighton, Perth, Adelaide and New York looking for work to showcase at their festivals, creating scope for productions to extend their footprint beyond 11 days in Grahamstown to countrywide tours and international seasons.”

The Rainbow Theatre Company was established in July 2009, with volunteers of the Gay & Lesbian Network managing the group. The Gay & Lesbian Network adopted community theatre as a means of creating awareness of LGBTI issues in a safe environment. The group performs at various workshops and events of the organisation and its partners. They also perform at anti-bulling campaigns at local schools.  The group comprises of young men and women, between the ages 18 – 25 who are mostly unemployed or studying.

The Rainbow Theatre Company is a member of the South African Community Theatre Association (SANCTA) and the Performing Arts Network of South Africa (PANSA). They participated at the SANCTA Festivals in 2010 and 2011 and were placed fourth position out of 15 theatre groups nationally at the festival in Mpumalanga in 2011.

Last year, the Rainbow Theatre Company performed at Jomba, a contemporary dance festival run by the University of KwaZulu-Natal Centre for Creative Arts. They were the first lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) drama group to be part of the festival. The Rainbow Theatre Company is sponsored by the National Lotteries Commission. For more information please contact the Gay & Lesbian Network on 033 342 6165 or visit www.gaylesbian.org.za

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(From left to right) Back row: Thobeka Bhengu (director and choreographer), Londeka Zondi, Xolisile Ngubane, and Nontokozo Gumede.

(From left to right) Middle row: Tando Sifile, Ncamsile Mbambo, Minenhle Nhleko, Nonkululeko Duma, Nhlanhla Ngubo, and Nomthandazo Sithole.

Front: Simangaliso Mnguni (choreographer).

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The Gay & Lesbian Network recently hosted KZN’s Got Talent as a lead up to their main event of the year, the Pink Mynah festival.

The auditions were held at the Pietermaritzburg Tourism Hub over two days, and many hopeful individuals and groups entered with high hopes. Many of whom were full of nerves, while others were excited to be given the opportunity to showcase their various talents.

There were singers, beat boxers, poets, and a range of dancing spanning from hip-hop to ballet. Those who went through to the finals performed on stage at the Pietermaritzburg City Hall, while their families and friends supported them from the audience.

The winner of the group act was a male choir called ‘Vocal Brothers’ who awed the judges with their melody and harmonizing. The winner of the individual act was Eric Majola (”Ntatheli ka Ndaba”), who performed a moving piece of poetry, told with great passion through the eyes of freedom fighter Hector Peterson. The Gay & Lesbian Network would like to send their heartfelt congratulations to the winners, who walked away with R5000 each.

The judges for KZN’s Got Talent were Thobeka Bhengu, Mark White, Fionna Donna Young, Charl Landsberg and Push Nqelenga.

 

 

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The lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community in South Africa is shocked and horrified by the terrible and senseless killings of the innocent human lives of our LGBTI brothers and sisters in Orlando, Florida. We wish to express our outrage at and condemnation of the hate-fuelled violence that affects the entire LGBTI and non-LGBTI community, not only in Orlando, but worldwide.

 

Our deepest sympathies go out to the people of Orlando who have lost sons, daughters, family, friends, colleagues, lovers, husbands, wives. We mourn the lost lives, and we send our condolences. We know this will never be enough, but know that we stand in solidarity with you. You are in our thoughts and prayers. May the bodies, minds and hearts of all those who survived be granted strength to fight on and live.

 

The massacre has taken place in June, marked around world as Pride Month; a time during which we commemorate and celebrate LGBTI people who have lived and struggled for equality and freedom for all people. These killings show a lack of understanding of all our struggles for a better life for everyone.

 

For too long the rhetoric of hate and mistrust, of condemnation and rejection has been allowed to prosper, and those who perpetuate words of hate should hang their heads in shame today. Directly or indirectly, your words have resulted in this senseless and tragic event. As South Africans we understand the continuing violence, attacks, rape and killing of our loved ones, even though our rights as equal citizens are protected by our Constitution. We understand your pain and sorrow today, as our loved ones too have been taken from us too soon.

 

We urge the South African Government to speed up the formulation of the Hate Crimes Bill so as to help prevent a similar incident in our beloved country.

 

We urge the American Government and other governments around the world to work to ensure that such hate crimes are not promoted or allowed to manifest in their countries.

 

And to our US brothers, sisters and trans* and gender non-conforming family: Today we cry with you. Your sadness is our sadness. Your loss is our loss. Your pain is our pain.

 

To those who hate; the individuals, the governments, the religious leaders and others who condemn and separate: Hear us when we say that we will not be cowed or intimidated. We are all part of the human race. We will continue to stand proud, supporting our LGBTI family, helping, consoling, and defending if necessary. We will continue and we will persevere, no matter where in the world we are.

 

Today we rise up once again, out and proud. And although the tears are streaking down our faces, we stand tall. We stand strong. A Luta Continua.

 

This statement is supported by:

 

Access Chapter 2

Activate Wits

Anova Health Institute, Health4Men and WeTheBrave

Bev Ditsie

Cape Town Pride / OUTReach Africa

Durban Pride

Durban Gay & Lesbian Film Festival

Exit newspaper

The Feather Awards SA / Thami Dish Foundation

Gay and Lesbian Memory in Action (GALA)

Gay & Lesbian Network, Pietermaritzburg

GaySA Radio

Love Not Hate Campaign

Mambaonline.com

The Other Foundation

OUT LGBT Well-being

Pretoria Pride

Pride Shelter Trust