The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) organisation at DUT held a Pride March which started from the University’s ML Sultan Campus, ending at the Steve Biko Campus, in a bid to raise awareness about homophobia.
He march was held on Friday last week (5 September 2014) during a week-long program facilitated by the University’s Department of Student Counseling and Health (Durban Centre).
LGBTI said this was a crucial moment for the organisation to reach out to the DUT community, and enlighten it about the sexual diversity on campus. The organisation has been at DUT since 2011 and the march was one of its major successes since its establishment.
Melusi Dlamini who co-ordinated the campaign said the idea for the march had been one of the key focus areas of the DUT Student Counselling and Health centre. In this regard, the Department chose to focus on gender diversity and highlight the difficulties some of the gender minorities encounter.
“We are trying to make people realise that this is not an invisible demographic, but that it is people who are here (on campus). We trust that the more we do such things, the more people will start to understand and participate in everything that we do,” said Dlamini.
The march was also aimed at educating the LGBTI community on living with HIV/AIDS, as well as preventing infection. The event helped create unity among students in assisting each other with challenges they may face on and outside campus. The Student Counselling and Health centre pledged its commitment in fighting discrimination against the LGBTI community during the march, and urged students to claim their space and be powerful advocates of the causes they stood for.
Director of the Student Counseling and Health Department (Durban Centre), Naseem Haniff said, “Every person regardless of who they are has a sexual orientation. The LGBTI community is still discriminated against and each and every one of you here has the power to change that.”
The march attracted a large crowd, with some students showing support to the LGBTI community. Thembelihle Mthembu, a first year Somatology student, said she understood the idea behind the awareness campaign and appreciated that the students wanted to be themselves without being harassed.
– Gift Nyamapfene
Pictured: Some of the scenes at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) Pride March which started from the University’s ML Sultan Campus, ending at the Steve Biko Campus.