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Gay not an insult word, GALZ
02/10/2014 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter
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ZIMBABWE'S gays and lesbians have condemned the continued use of the word "gay" as an insult during tense exchanges by "reckless" political rivals.

President Robert Mugabe has used public forums to bash gays and has continuously used the word to sneer at the hostile West, which embraces homosexuality.

Fiery Zanu PF politician Themba Mliswa took it a gear up Monday when he accused Zanu PF politburo member Patrick Zhuwao and party cabinet ministers Jonathan Moyo and Saviour Kasukuwere of being "gay gangsters".

"I will prove it. It's the whole crew," Mliswa ranted, "We will not allow the party to be run by gay gangsters. They are constantly loaded with money because the CIA funds them."

But the Gays and Lesbians Association of Zimbabwe (GALZ) said Tuesday the continued use of homosexuality as an insult word was not just offending to them as gays but was hate language.

"We, as a community, are very concerned because it has implications on our community members who are then targeted on the very basis of such reckless statements that are made by people in authority as a way of getting at each other through hate speech," GALZ director Chester Samba told NewZimbabwe.com in an interview.

He continued: "Because the President has been outspoken about gays and lesbians and his position is very clear and we know on several occasions he uses any podium he gets to get at gays and lesbian people through hate speech.

"...You find the word gay now has certain connotations in that it characterises an image of an outcast in society something that is undesirable, someone who is not really worth as an individual.

"...So in Zimbabwe, the word gay is now fully turning into a derogatory word as how it has been embraced by our politicians."
Samba said they as an association were worried when the word is used as a form of hate speech.

Zimbabwe's conservative population is yet to accept homosexuality although the highly introverted local gay community is believed to be much bigger as most people are afraid of stigmatisation if they reveal their homosexual orientation.

GALZ is on record as saying they had a wider membership even among some of the most outspoken groups that are against the sexual orientation.


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