BCM honours pledge to the LGBTQI+ community

The Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality handed over 150 dignity packs as part of fulfilling its pledge to the LGBTQI+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex Life) community on Tuesday 7 June, at the Social Health and Empowerment (SHE) office.

Ondela Mahlangu, who is the Intergovernmental Relations, Communications and Special Programmes General Manager, handed over dignity packs containing a wash cloth, body lotion, toothpaste, vaseline, toothbrush, body wash, soap, deodrant and sanitary towels on behalf of Deputy Executive Mayor Princess Faku.

The handover coincided with a national dialogue that was held in respect of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) for the month of June.

Buffalo City Metropolitan municipality spokesperson, Sameklo Ngwenya, said: “The handover of the dignity packs is the fulfilment of a pledge made by Councillor Faku during the commemoration of International Women ’s Day in March. “The SHE programme was aimed at the LGBTQI+ people and sex workers who are often marginalised within society. “

While Mahlangu adressed recipients, she said that the event was an eye opener on many of the issues faced by the LGBTQI+ community. “This is a social investment, and we are here to say we recognise you, We will definitely find a way of interacting with you, one way or the other. “The more we engage with people who have hands on experience, the
better, because we tend to think that we understand these things and we theorise about it.”

Mahlangu expressed gratitude to recipients for their participation at the event . “I want to thank all of you for sharing what you have been sharing with us. “It is food for thought that we must process as we go back in our spaces in our municipal buildings and offices.”

The Deputy Executive Mayor also serves as Chairperson of the Aids Council in Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality region.

This is a multi-stakeholder structure that consists of government departments, development partners, civil society, and organisations, including the Social Health and Empowerment (SHE), which is a Collective of Transgender Women in the fight against HIV and Aids.

In this regard, the Aids Council seeks to address these issues, not only through bio-medical means, but also through awareness, public education, stigma reduction, and access to basic services and economic opportunities.

Spokesperson to the Deputy Executive Mayor, Dr Pedro Mzileni, said: “The offering of the dignity packs is therefore done within that understanding. “In addition, the LGBTQI+ sector along with sex workers are often the most marginalised group in society who fear stigma, discrimination, and dehumanisation – and as such, they often do not engage in health seeking behaviour nor mainstream economic opportunities as a result of this structural stigmatisation.”

Intergovernmental Relations, Communications and Special Programmes General Manager, Ondela Mahlangu with recipients of the dignity packs.

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