by Kopano Sibeko
According to the PR person at the Press room, he stated that only 31 South African athletes made it to the 2013 World Outgames, Antwerp. There are 17 males and 14 females whose race cannot be disclosed due to privacy.
He did not know how many of those individuals were offered outreach package.
One cannot imagine the number of LGBT talent that is out there with(in) a population of +48 million.
It’s been eleven days since I arrived in the beautiful city of Antwerp, Belgium. I am still intrigued about how the name of this city came about, quite exciting and weird. This city holds a lot of historical background and all that surrounds it dates back to some historical event some how, which is rather pleasing and adventurous.
The beauty that Antwerp, Belgium holds, is quite evident in the pricing of food and clothing, life here is pretty expensive. Going back to my previous draft about the food here, I am kind of adapting but I’ve pretty much stuffed myself with hamburgers and fries those are the closest kind of foods that can relate to our oh so diverse food in South Africa.
However, buying a burger is expensive, the cheapest burger is 3 euros which is equivalent to R39.00 in South African rands. So, basically if I eat three meals a day I’d have to multiply that 3 by R13 = R39.00, in total I would have spent R117 a day on food alone. I speak not of the fact that my colleagues also have to have had three meals a day if I start counting I’ll lose it. The broader picture here is that it is really expensive to visit Europe countries without finances/ sponsorship.
Another reality check is that I came to document the 2013 World Outgames, apart from Inkanyiso Productions, the mainstream media from South Africa is not here to cover these games which is quite disappointing since we are a democratic country. It bothers me that the outgames are not even recognised by African media houses like the mainstream World Cup and Olympics. South Africa legalised same sex marriage in 2006 and amended the Constitution in 1996. The holy – queerly book reads that no one should be discriminated against on the grounds of sexual orientation which is clearly stipulated in the Bill of rights, Section 9 subsection 2.
Now I have so many questions and wandering in this foreign space.
Is our SA government totally oblivious to the fact that there are such games?
I mean maybe my exceptations are pretty much way overboard I guess, when South African Football Association (SAFA) fails to recognize or sign Chosen FEW which is the only outspoken lesbian soccer team in Africa and have long existed let alone represented us at 3 major international games. It is a shame that Chosen FEW could not travel and represent again due to lack of resources, even when some players tried to fundraise still they could not make it to this year’s Outgames.
It is not only soccer players affected by lack of sponsorships but other sporting games. This is not even on a national level but worldly stance.
Does this not mean anything or South African government could not even be bothered to help such queer initiatives?
Yet another reality hits me that even these games are white dominated maybe we could justify it by concluding that most african states are not so liberal and that the thought of advocating sexual rights through sports would be something else, maybe my thoughts are a little far off, because I could literally count the number of African states that were present on one hand, or we could easily say that maybe people are not as expoesd to information to use such opportune moments, but how am I to know of such if I don’t have access to internet, maybe black people are lazy. I don’t know but my observations are giving me the notion that there will always be standards.
The WOGA games also don’t have a lot of women participating in sports and maybe we could assume that women are generally not interested in sports or we could look at the factor that sports has had an element of sexism, women have always been sidelined and placed in a more domestic role, even in such spaces gay men are predominate and maybe women don’t want to be in the forefront but there needs to be a balance which means that the games need to be promoted and if the state doesn’t want to co-join with us with sports when we are openly gay then maybe they should place aside funds that allow us the same opportunities. Women who are openly gay cannot participate in sports and if they do they have to be secretive about it.
Why is it that we still have to hide that’s even besides the point, why should who I have sex with have anything to do with my work?
How will that affect my performance I mean realistically speaking?
It saddens me that the only sport that we can say that black people actively participate in is soccer and other sports we can point out the number of people or one black person, and if any they are lucky because they got the luxury of attending a multiracial school which offers more than public schools, infact public schools don’t even have sporting grounds.
My reality seems to be in check constantly since I came here. I’m always mentally awakened especially by the fact that although we say to the world we have moved on from racial borders but truth be told white people are still presented with opportunities and monetary power than people of colour could ever be.
People here have received us well but we still get those stares as if being black makes one half human.
I find it rather awkward that most of their relationships here are biracial maybe it would be wrong of me to assume that most black people that reside here marry white people to get citizenship or maybe I’m just overstepping my mark here I don’t know.
My observations could be obscure and maybe negative, but these are some of the things that I observed that happen everywhere around the world and until we deal with racial, sexual and gender borders we could move towards the right direction of living in a liberal world.
The Outgames are still on until 11th Aug. 2013.
Inkanyiso will continue to report live from Antwerp.
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