Patricia Nell Warren

More on the Murder of a Black Lesbian Soccer Player

Filed By Patricia Nell Warren | July 25, 2008 3:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Marriage Equality, The Movement
Tags: anti-gay violence, anti-woman violence, National Center for Lesbian Rights, Title IX

Re the recent brutal gang-rape and slaying of South African player Eudy Simelane, Outsports reader Wayne Jones emailed me from South Africa to add:

As you mentioned, there have been other lesbian murders (in black townships/ghettos) where the motive has been simply because the women were gay. Township women don't have it easy here: last year a woman near Durban was stripped of her clothes, made to walk the streets naked and her shack was burned down because she was wearing trousers!

At the other extreme, a 25 yr old black woman was stripped naked and sexually assaulted by about 100 men at a public taxi rank in Johannesburg in Feb 2008. Her crime? She was wearing a mini-skirt and apparently was 'asking for it.' Three men nearby managed to help her, but not before the mob had stuck fingers into her vagina and poured alcohol over her naked body.

A popular tabloid columnist (and it is entirely the poorly educated lower class who read this high-circulation tabloid), Jon Qwelane, has just written another article against gay marriage, this time comparing it to marrying an animal. His online editor refused to publish the article, but the damage has already been done as the newspaper (Sunday Sun) had no qualms printing it alongside a cartoon of a man and a goat marrying in a church.

South Africa isn't the only country where grisly crimes against women and gays are occurring. From conservative Islamic countries to Guatemala, there's a growing global terror campaign aimed at keeping these two groups "in their place." The United States, with its own population of poorly educated traditionalist men who are easily stirred up against women and LGBT people, has its own violent statistics building.

Sadly, the violence starts with something as seemingly non-violent as the case in the news today -- San Diego Mesa College's open retaliation against two lesbian coaches who dared to call the school on its flagrant Title IX violations in the athletic program.

(Crossposted with

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Thanks for this Patricia.
It seems sometimes as if we are under attack from all sides, the right, the left, some of the LGBT community, everyone..

Other times, though, we have support that we need to treasure and to nurture..

I'm glad the NCLR has filed suit on behalf of the two lesbian coaches fired by Mesa College. The article points to misogyny and homophobia at various levels of the college's sports programs.

To me it seems there were long-running episodes of putting women "in their place." Such feelings of entitlement surely were behind the attack on Eudy Simelane, and perhaps behind most hate crimes. This sense of entitlement needs to be identified, labeled as such, and brought to an end whenever it occurs.

You know, when we're sitting around and bitching about how horrible it is that we can't get married in Nebraska, sometimes we need to stop and reflect what a lesbian in South Africa goes through. Suddenly our problems seem a little petty.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | July 27, 2008 1:48 AM

The institutional hubris of men in Africa has to be remembered for what it is: Traditional Oppression. You just cannot get outside of this box easily in Africa. Even their violence toward one another is traditional to their tribes and cannot easily be extinguished. I quote one short paragraph from my friend, Wilfred Cibone, who wrote "A Man of Two Worlds" Kewalla Books 1998:

"For decades we black people tried to negotiate with the white minority in power, first peacefully and then through armed struggle. we were imprisoned, tortured, assaulted but we refused to give up until Nelson Mandela was released. You, my people, won a new South Africa under black rule. The war is over. We have won but we are still fighting; crime continues to escalate; killings, burning and rape occur, and progress is hampered: which way are we going?"

Wilfred and his partner, John Sandys Smith, were together 55 years until their death. Thank you Patricia.