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Unapologetically Proud

Lorenzo August (she/her), is a young queer person from Kimberley in the Northern Cape. Her story is proof of the challenges that people experience as members of the LGBTQIA+ community in a society that often misunderstands and mistreats people like her. Lorenzo is one of our My Journey influencers. She uses social media platforms to share important health messages and address issues that affect the youth.

“Growing up in Greenpoint, Kimberley taught me from a young age to stand up for myself,” Lorenzo shares. “I had to hide who I was from the public because the community lacked knowledge about people like me.”

Learning to rely on herself at an early age was tough, but it helped her to grow as a person. Life in Greenpoint was far from easy for Lorenzo. “Getting homophobic remarks from governmental officials and being treated as if you have some sort of disease just because you’re gay, these are some of the challenges I face,” Lorenzo explains. The discrimination she encounters isn’t just social but institutional, making daily life a struggle.

In spite of these challenges, Lorenzo is determined to change how people see the LGBTQIA+ community. “We’re goal-driven, very friendly, helpful, and always willing to go the extra mile for others. And let’s not forget, we’re often the life of the party!” Lorenzo says with a smile. Her positive attitude and lively personality help fight the harmful myths and attitudes that often cause violence, bullying, and hate crimes against LGBTQIA+ people.

Lorenzo’s experiences reflect a broader reality faced by many in the LGBTQIA+ community. Due to harmful myths and attitudes, people who identify as LGBTQIA+ or who simply look a bit different can become victims of gender-based violence, bullying, and hate crimes. Sadly, some have even been killed for being part of this community. Everybody has the right to be safe and live a life free from violence – no matter who they are, how they look, how they dress, or who they love.

Pride Month Lorenzo

Lorenzo taking a selfie

Gender expression is how someone chooses to show their gender to the world. For example, a person’s sex might be female, but they might feel male and express this by wearing their hair short. Sexual orientation is about who you’re romantically, emotionally, or sexually attracted to. It’s personal and only you can define it in a way that makes sense for you.

People do not choose to be LGBTQIA+, it is how they are made. Different identities and orientations are part of the natural range of what it means to be human. Being LGBTQIA+ is not a mental illness that needs to be ‘cured’. LGBTQIA+ people are just like everyone else and want to live their lives without fear and discrimination. Lorenzo’s experience reflects the value of acceptance and the need for education in our communities. Her determination is remarkable, and her message is clear:

 “We deserve to live our lives openly and safely, without judgment or fear. And while we may face challenges, we are strong, vibrant, and essential parts of our communities.”

Stand Proud LGBTQIA+ Leaflet