Founder and director of Vhembe LGBTI Ms Precious Murulane.
For some lesbian, gay and transgender people, life is still a struggle as they have to live in a shell because of fear of discrimination, ostracism, and other kinds of malicious and dehumanising talk from people in the communities in which they live.
However, this might become a thing of the past because strong young women such as Precious Murulane have the willpower to continue to be vocal on LGBTI issues. She had initiated Vhembe LGBTI, an organisation that advocates for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex people, in 2013.
As founder and director of Vhembe LGBTI, Precious has used personal experience to shape the organisation to become a voice for voiceless and abused persons from that community.
“As a woman who is outspoken and vocal on issues of human rights, and LGBTI rights in particular, I have always found that the challenges are there, have always been there and will always be there,” she said. “We are dealing with hate speech and hate crime in our day-to-day life. LGBTI individuals are being killed or raped because of their sexuality.”
The organisation holds public talks and educational awareness campaigns, where they make people aware about the existence and rights of LGBTI persons. “We educate the community by getting them involved in interactional dialogues,” she said. “We visit health centres, community-based organisations, and police stations, teaching them how to deal with LGBTI cases.”
She said in the past instances had occurred where rape victims would be harassed and turned away because of their sexuality because the police official assisting them was not knowledgeable enough to move away from stereotypes and prejudice. “Remember, we are not looking for special treatment as LGBTI persons, but we just want to be treated like everyone else as we are human beings and not demons or sick (as some would call us),” she said.
Experience and personal interactions with other LGBTI persons had revealed to Precious that many people found themselves huddled and suffocating in their shell because of fear of ostracism and stigmatisation. “I discovered that I was lesbian in 2011 when I was pregnant,” she said. “I realised at that point that my feelings were strongly leading me to women; that was when I realised that I loved women. I never came across hate speech in my journey of coming out of the closet. Wait … ‘closet’ … what is a closet? Do straight people also have a closet?”
She is a proud lesbian and mother to a nine-year-old son. “He’s the best thing that has ever happened to me. Having a child doesn't make me less of a lesbian and doesn't change my sexuality,” she said.
Precious’s family were open minded and understanding about her being a lesbian woman. “I always believe that if parents can accept their children as gays or lesbians, the community outside will adjust easily to that fact, for charity begins at home,” she said.
With a radiant smile, she said: “Oh yes, I am in love with the most beautiful woman I could ever ask for. We hooked up two years ago after knowing each other for four years. We have a beautiful love story that only we know and understand. I must say, I am proud of having her in my life, for she is the pillar of strength in my life. I am a woman who is in love with a woman, and soon we will be getting married.”
Vhembe LGBTI is available on Facebook.
Date:18 July 2020 - By: Tshifhiwa Mukwevho
Tshifhiwa Given Mukwevho was born in 1984 in Madombidzha village, not far from Louis Trichardt in the Limpopo Province. After submitting articles for roughly a year for Limpopo Mirror's youth supplement, Makoya, he started writing for the main newspaper. He is a prolific writer who published his first book, titled A Traumatic Revenge in 2011. It focusses on life on the street and how to survive amidst poverty. His second book titled The Violent Gestures of Life was published in 2014.