The Spring 2008 recipient was:
Gender and Women's Studies Major
Project Title: Constitution (in)Action: GIBT Activism in Post Apartheid South Africa
Project Description: My research paper aims to explore individuals’ personal experiences with the disconnect between South Africa’s progressive constitution, which extends protection to those facing discrimination based on sexual orientation, and the general negative social attitudes surrounding GLBT rights issues in South Africa today. I assert that because many political leaders have condemned homosexuality as fundamentally “un-African” South African society has viewed GLBT rights movements as western and “other” which has contributed to the marginalization of the queer community. This paper focuses on the personal narratives of members of the Durban Lesbian and Gay Community Health Centre and GLBT individuals at the University of KwaZulu-Natal to interrogate the strategies used by this organization and individual activists to bridge the gap between promises laid out in the constitution and South Africa’s current social reality. This topic deserves significant academic exploration because without a complete understanding of the current social-political disconnect in South Africa, basic human rights will continue to be withheld from certain groups, such as the GLBT community. My paper engages with many lesbian and trans women who are very much a minority in the South African community, and whose voices are not often heard. I think that this paper focuses on one of Phyllis Jones’s interests, which is bringing women’s stories which have been not been made visible to the foreground.