Arts Explosion is a special evening for local LGBTI poets, authors, artists and musicians to showcase their work.
Durban Beach Walk
Our International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia & Transphobia Durban Beach Walk is a day for families, friends, allies and the LGBTQI+ community to join together against hate, and show that love and acceptance is possible and beautiful.
This event also offers the opportunity for a moment of silence to acknowledge and honour those that have died or have been assaulted due to homophobic and transphobic violence, femicide, corrective rape, GBV and victimisation. It is also a time for poets and artists to perform and raise awareness of the violence faced by LGBTI people in South Africa.
Our monthly meetings are a safe space for LGBTI youth to come and learn more about themselves, and what it truly means to be gender diverse or of different sexual orientations. Unfortunately, most youth have a skewed view of what they have been told about “the gay lifestyle”, along with many other misconceptions. We replace the misinformation with research-based, scientific findings that are globally accepted. We stand by the World Health Organisation, which has declassified LGBTI as being an illness that needs curing, and instead affirms the validity of these individuals' natural existence in a human race that is full of diversity.
Secondly, we empower LGBTI people by fleshing out the rights that are secured for them through the Constitution and the laws of South Africa. They learn about the resources that are available to them, and the systems and processes that have been put in place for them to access that freedom in order to exist and live openly and safely in our country. Should the need arise, we also intervene on their behalf when they encounter discrimination or injustice based on their sexuality, gender identity or gender expression.
Thirdly, we encourage youth to bring their parents and families to join us and learn the truths and the facts behind sexual orientation and gender identity in an informal environment. Countless parents and teenagers have experienced the most incredible reconnection once parents fully understand their child. This is the most rewarding part of our work: to see families regain the unconditional love that they had before, and to be able to resolve their family conflicts.
Lastly, we have had speakers, book launches, movies from local filmmakers and interactive talks to cater to everyone’s needs. When we have funding, we supply the eats, tea and coffee, and we also provide transport money to those that need it. Again, we want to make this space available to all. However, it should be noted that many folk are understandably reluctant to have their photos taken.
Over the past few years our Christmas gatherings have been in different places, from the Amanzimtoti Beach to various venues. Christmas is a stressful time for LGBTI people in general, where they are often in contact with unsupportive family, or some are alone because of family rejection, so this is a time to give to them a celebration of acceptance and belonging at Christmas time. Families and friends gather to just relax and enjoy the food and laughter together.
At Durban Pride we have a table where we are famous for the gay ties that we sell, and other things like flags and T-shirts. Our “Free Mom Hugs” are also very popular, where mothers and fathers of LGBTI people offer hugs to LGBTI individuals who have been rejected by their parents, or whose parents are unsupportive. Youth flock to them, just to have a hug from an adult who accepts and understands them. Our youth often attend their first Pride with us, and fortunately some parents accompany them, too!
Transgender events are sorely lacking in KZN, and access to health is also a barrier for transgender folk. To address this void, we have created the Transgender Picnic, a picnic held annually in the Botanical Gardens in Durban. This aims to allow transgender persons to spend time together, and even bring along their families and friends. It is the only event of its kind in South Africa.
Furthermore, there are limited health services for transgender persons in Durban, so we have a professional psychologist from Pietermaritzburg that comes to Durban once a month to offer private counselling at a reduced fee to transgender patients without medical aid. They will also begin the process for those that wish to transition. Transgender Sessions are held once a month, and are unique in South Africa.
Same Love Toti has also held workshops in partnership with TransHope and the University of KwaZulu-Natal to provide training on gender affirming healthcare. This set out best practices for practitioners caring for gender diverse patients, and afforded insight for parents of transgender youth.