Equality Act under the microscope in 'gay is not okay' hate speech case

The Johannesburg High Court is hearing the hate speech case against former South African ambassador to Uganda Jon Qwelane, where the Equality Act is being put to the test.

The case has been brought by the South Africa Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) and the Psychological Society of South Africa (PsySSA) has joined the matter as friends of the court.

Aside from the Equality Court trial which is leading evidence, Qwelane's lawyers will also be challenging the Equality Act's constitutionality.

In 2008, Qwelane wrote a column for the Sunday Sun titled "Call me names, but gay is not okay".

PsySSA (Psychological Socieety of South Africa) attorney Kerry Williams explains that the contents of the 2008 column was filled with hateful remarks, comparing the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community with animals.

As soon as you start invoking animal metaphors in relation to people, then you get into a very damaging space and hateful speech.

Kerry Williams, partner at Webber Wentzel and PsySSA's attorney

She maintains that the case is not about freedom of expression, but rather equality, dignity and integrity.

Williams advises that hate speech is any utterance that is hurtful, or harmful or which propagates hatred.

Meanwhile, LGBTI activist Melanie Judge says the law can often do the work of prejudice in African countries where homosexuality continues to be criminalised.

Despite this, Judge says the law remains an important tool and "language" to shift social relations.

According to Judge, dehumanising hate speech has the ability to legitamise and perpetuate the undignified treatment of LGBTI people.

That kind of speech can actually create the conditions that make more direct forms of violence possible. In a country like ours, we know what that looks likes.

Melanie Judge, LGBTI activist

The pair talk about the limitations of the legislation, why law is important around hate speech and other measures to deal with hatred in society.

Take a listen:


Recommended

by NEWSROOM AI
Read More
Misconceptions about bisexuality that need to be corrected

Misconceptions about bisexuality that need to be corrected

Clinical sexologist Dr Eve debunks the myths around bisexuality and talks about the discrimination bisexual people often face.

Churches must check their language about LGBTI lives, says reverend

Churches must check their language about LGBTI lives, says reverend

Rev. Tebogo Klaas says churches that remain silent on matters of the LGBTI community are complicit in the violence that they face.

East Rand restaurant doesn't allow gay couples on 'date night'

East Rand restaurant doesn't allow gay couples on 'date night'

Station manager at Gay SA Radio, Hendrik Baird, says Human Rights Commission has not done enough to investigate homophobic people.

Trans kids need to be supported (not surpressed) by parents, says Dr Eve

Trans kids need to be supported (not surpressed) by parents, says Dr Eve

Clinical sexologist Dr Eve discusses the debate on gender diversity and the rights and agency of transgender children growing up.

Suspected lesbian hate crime indicative of SA's social crisis, says activist

Suspected lesbian hate crime indicative of SA's social crisis, says activist

LGBTI activist and researcher Phumi Mtetwa says that hate crimes are a societal problem which need to be tackled by all citizens.

Comedian's censorship concerns with new Hate Speech Bill

Comedian's censorship concerns with new Hate Speech Bill

The proposed bill could limit various topics for comedians, which would affect how comedians create content.

The struggles of intersex people in SA

The struggles of intersex people in SA

1 in 400 South Africans are intersex, but very few are born into tolerant families or medical environments.

US pastor calls Archbishop Tutu 'perverted' over pro-gay views

US pastor calls Archbishop Tutu 'perverted' over pro-gay views

Ahead of his visit to SA, Pastor Steven Anderson reiterated his position on homosexuality and religious leaders who support it.

DSTV filtering out LGBTI content says TV guru

DSTV filtering out LGBTI content says TV guru

SA DSTV subscribers will not get to see an episode from animated Nickelodeon series The Loud House showing interracial gay dads.

Gay SA Radio comes out online to highlight LGBTI realities

Gay SA Radio comes out online to highlight LGBTI realities

Gay SA Radio will launch on the web and is a South African online gay radio station serving the LGBTI community.

Popular articles
[LISTEN] New Visa regulations could change the face of South African tourism

[LISTEN] New Visa regulations could change the face of South African tourism

Lecturer at TUT's Dept of Tourism, Unathi Henama says that the tourism sector is at the center of the economic policies in SA.

'My hubby is 75 and we still do it' - stories about sex on the other side of 50

'My hubby is 75 and we still do it' - stories about sex on the other side of 50

Is biology putting the brakes on your sexuality? Callers share their experiences of sex and growing older.

'Some weed plants with high levels of chemicals have been linked to psychosis'

'Some weed plants with high levels of chemicals have been linked to psychosis'

Naked Scientist, Chris Smith shares his insights on some of the risks associated with smoking marijuana.

DStv Premium on a downward spiral, warns tech guru

DStv Premium on a downward spiral, warns tech guru

DStv has lost about 140 000 Premium subscribers to Netflix over the past two years, tech expert Arthur Goldstuck.

Hits from the bong (it’s legal!)… then off to work I go?

Hits from the bong (it’s legal!)… then off to work I go?

The consequences of consuming dagga at home and showing up at the office high. Bruce Whitfield interviews a labour lawyer.

17-year-old learner killed teacher for not allowing him to jump the food queue

17-year-old learner killed teacher for not allowing him to jump the food queue

Spokesperson for Education department says the fact that this learner is still in Grade 10 at 17 may indicate there is a problem.

Tell me what you want: Study reveals most common sexual fantasies

Tell me what you want: Study reveals most common sexual fantasies

What are your sexual fantasies? Disclosure can bring sexual freedom, but it can also have downsides. A study lists the top trends.

3 emergency numbers you should have on speed dial and how they work

3 emergency numbers you should have on speed dial and how they work

These are the emergency numbers you should have on your cellphone and this is what you must understand about how they work.