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By Editorial staff

Journalist


Forget phobia and live and let live

We mustn’t forget we’re all human, whatever preferences we may have. Let’s live … and let live.


Woolworths may have expected some pushback from its very public adoption of the LGBTQIA+ cause in launching its “WPride” campaign in celebration of International Pride Month… but it probably didn’t expect the row to light up social media.

Granted, Twitter and Facebook are hardly representative of real world South Africa … but the potential is there for some serious reputation management.

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The backlash has startled some in a country where, hitherto, we have been tolerant of people of different sexual orientation. For many of us “live and let live” doesn’t have to be an order by our constitution.

The row has become bitter and polarising because of the emergence of transgenderism as a major societal debating point … and one which has even split the gay and lesbian community itself.

Much of the anger – and certainly the arguments of those against trans people – has, in truth, been imported from overseas, and especially from conservative religious groupings, because this is not yet an issue in everyday South African life.

These imported narratives focus on “critical race theory”, too, and effectively paint a picture of white culture being under threat.

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Now, it is the nuclear, heterosexual family which is perceived to be in danger. Woolworths didn’t do its image any favours by energetically blocking anyone who objected on social media, casting itself in the role of Stalinist censor, at least to some.

What is really worrying, though, to many in the community rallying under the Pride flag – and to its allies – is that the anti-Woolies backlash is indicative of a growing homophobic and transphobic reality in SA.

Equally worrying to the critics of Woolies is that the company is supposedly pandering to a minority, which is intent on overturning society’s values.

We mustn’t forget we’re all human, whatever preferences we may have. Let’s live … and let live.

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