Home » Human Rights » Galz Praise Zuma Over Gay Minister

A LOCAL gay rights lobby group has commended the appointment of an openly gay cabinet minister by the South African President Jacob Zuma adding it was high time the political leadership in Zimbabwe took a leaf from their neighbours.

Zuma named the openly gay Lynne Brown, 52, public enterprises minister in a cabinet that also includes South Africa’s first black minister of finance.

The appointment of Brown (who is of mixed ancestry) was seen as a symbolic step on a continent enduring a huge homophobic backlash.

In an exclusive interview with NewZimbabwe.com, director of the Gay and Lesbians Association of Zimbabwe (GALZ) Chester Samba said Zuma had shown African leaders what was expected in an ideal world.

“The sexual orientation of anyone who holds public office or any other person would be irrelevant,” said Samba.

“But sadly we live in a world were a certain class of people have to make these confessions and celebrate them all because we assume that heterosexuality is the desired norm rendering other orientations invisible.

“This is why we are working to demystify these misconceptions that a lesbian cannot become a Minister that the lives of gay and lesbian people are all about difficult struggles.

“We need to get to a point where gay, lesbian, HIV positive, cancer sufferers, etc. are not viewed as different from the desired norm or standard.”

Director of the newly formed lesbian lobby group Pakasipiti Patience Mandishona added: “This is a move towards being inclusive and appreciating diversity even in leadership.

“I just hope it will not have a backlash of increased violence and homophobia in communities (because) as much as the constitution is protecting LGBT South Africans are still at risk of violent attacks, rape and murder.”

Social commentator Gift Mabheka Njanji said he did not foresee any problems should South Africa’s gay minister visit Zimbabwe on official business.

“Should the (South African) minister come to Zimbabwe, the leadership here is expected to treat her as a messenger of the SA government and the expectation is that heshe will conduct herself as such and not represent hisher unique sexual orientation,” said Njanji. Born in Cape Town, Brown was premier of the Western Cape until the African National Congress (ANC) lost control of the province to the opposition Democratic Alliance in 2009.

South Africa is the first African country to legalise gay marriages.

Source : New Zimbabwe