'we prefer women toilets'
Women attending the Women's Dialogue gathering in Boksburg, Ekurhuleni, yesterday reacted with shock when they were told that gay men would prefer to share toilets with them.
There were murmurs of disapproval and disbelief when gay activist Mveleli Gqwede told the conference, attended by among others Gauteng Premier Paul Mashatile, that gay men felt more comfortable in female toilets.
A woman seated at the back was heard exclaiming: "Hayi bo! angeke Gqwede, soze! (No Gqwede, it will not happen). We love gay people but we cannot share such facilities with you guys."
Gqwede, who introduced himself as Dr Love, said the government must address the needs of gays. "A lot of gay people belong among women, that is where they feel tolerated. If a gay person goes to men's toilets they frown at us, and if you go to women's toilets, they also frown at us. We end up going to toilets of disabled people."
Gqwede said gay people were also deprived of space to contribute to society and to be empowered through government projects.
"There are no empowerment projects for gay people. The living space of gay people is limited. A lot of gays are suppressed even in their homes," he said.
Mashatile invited Gqwede to work with government. He appealed to delegates to tolerate people irrespective of their sexual orientation.