LGBTIQ+ activist on warpath to stop bullying in Gauteng

LGBTI activist Daniël Du Preez. Photo: Supplied

Bullying has been identified as the main cause of suicide among members of the LGBTIQ+ community.

This has led activist Daniël du Preez to form One Love LGBTIQ+, an organisation that empowers communities to learn more about gay people.

Du Preez, who is an activist for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, intersex and queer plus (LGBTIQ+) community, said the organisation would host annual projects and events to help fight homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia among Gauteng communities.

“My top priority is building a safe environment for all LGBTIQ+ learners, by hosting workshops, hackathons and presentations to build young people who identify as members of this group – a minority which is often vulnerable,” he said.

He had identified bullying as the main problem, which often was the cause of suicide among young people.

“Although school bullying is a severe, nationwide problem, many teachers and administrators are reluctant to intervene or adopt policies to prevent it. And many children do not report violence or harassment because they believe it either will not make a difference or will make matters worse,” Du Preez said.

Through educational campaigns, Du Preez was working to ensure that school environments were inclusive, equitable and safe for all learners.

He has started the teaching tolerance project, which aims to promote safe school environments. It will be launched on Youth Day, 16 June.

Du Preez told Rekord that he was busy creating an LGBTIQ+ video about bullying.

Du Preez has taken strong action to defend the rights of LGBTIQ+ learners who have encountered school policies or practices that violate their free expression rights under the Constitution.

“Outside the classroom, I am working towards banning the practice of ‘conversion therapy’,” he said.

He said many LGBTIQ+ youths had been harmed psychologically and alienated from their families by conversion therapy, which purported to change a person’s sexual orientation.

The practice, based on the idea that LGBTIQ+ people had a mental disorder, also promoted a climate of bigotry and discrimination.

His work can also be traced in juvenile centres and child welfare centres across the province.

“I have invested my work in reducing the discrimination and harassment that LGBTIQ+ youth experience in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems,” Du Preez said.

An LGBTIQ+ youth rights WhatsApp hackathon event will be hosted on Saturday, 9 June and Du Preez will be talking with the youth to come up with a working plan to educate the other learners.

The WhatsApp groups can be found at https://chat.whatsapp.com/EuVxjrgDqPEGt7nxT9gPUv or https://chat.whatsapp.com/EsJOhPTrvNi1rHkay9YJ4T.

People who want to support the projects on social media can use the hashtag #OneLoveYouthRights and speak out against hate crimes.

For more information on learners’ rights at school and elsewhere, visit the website at https://onelovelgbtiq.wixsite.com/onelove.

An email can also be sent to [email protected] or [email protected].

ALSO READ:

45% of Africans believe LGBTQ should be criminalised

Do you have more information about the story? Please send us an email to [email protected] or phone us on 083 625 4114.

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  AUTHOR
Thato Mahlangu
Journalist

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