Heteronormativity, homophobia and 'culture' arguments in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

SOURCE: Sexualities
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2014
TITLE AUTHOR(S): F.Reygan, A.Lynette
KEYWORDS: CULTURE, GENDER, HETERONOMORMATIVITY, HOMOPHOBIA, HOMOSEXUALITY, IDENTITY, SEXUAL ORIENTATION
DEPARTMENT: Democracy, Governance and Service Delivery (DGSD)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 9943

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Abstract

Despite a progressive Constitution and affirming legislation, sexual and gender minorities experience discrimination in South Africa. This reflects the ongoing impact of heteronormativity, 'culture' arguments and violence in suppressing non-normative sexual and gender identities. In the present study we conducted interviews with eight young, lesbian women and gay men in eThekwini municipality in KwaZulu-Natal province. Three major themes emerged: Language and constructions of gender and sexuality; experiences of homophobia; and Challenging 'culture' arguments. Participants tended to replicate heteronormativity and traditional understandings of gender in their lives; they experienced homophobia and homophobic violence; and they challenged homophobic 'culture' arguments.