Loud and proud: LGBTI community's plight heard through Unheard Voices

Loud and proud: LGBTI community's plight heard through Unheard Voices

- There are many stigmas that cling to the words gay, lesbian, bi, transgender or prostitute

- Unheard voices is a project that want to remove stigmas and help people accept everyone, regardless of their preferences

- The project launched in South Africa and hopes to share stories the stories of real South Africans

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A young man took courage and "came out" to his family. As he expected, his father stormed out of the room and his mother burst into tears.

He told his mother that he was sorry and that he would leave their home. The young man's mother worried about what people would say if they found out.

But his sister reminded his mother what is more important - her son's well being.

So the mother got to know her son and who he really is, a blessing for any mother. While it is still a learning process for the family, they are working through it.

The man's father is learning to look past the stigma of being gay and see his son, his child.

This story may have a happy ending, but not everyone is so lucky. There are nasty and cruel preconceived ideas that are still being held onto in this modern age.

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People find it hard to open their hearts to anyone who is lesbian, gay, bi, transgender or a prostitute. As if these people are dirty and inhuman.

But there is hope.

Unheard Voices: A radio and digital awareness project

This heartwarming project launched in May in South Africa and wants to create awareness of the people behind words like 'gay' or 'transgender'.

By sharing true stories by people across Africa who are lesbian, gay, bi, transgender or prostitutes, fellow Africans can learn to understand and accept.

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These never-heard-before human stories show us how for every act of intolerance, there is an act of compassion. These are the stories of mothers, fathers, grandfathers, grandmothers, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, friends, co-workers, healthcare workers, religious and traditional leaders.

Unheard Voices feel that for too long only one side of the story about these people have been heard. Stories filled with intolerance, hate, and violence.

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Now it’s time to tell a different side of the story.

Stories of people who understand, care and connect, no matter what differences there are between them.

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A recent study in South Africa revealed that South Africans are actually very accepting of their fellow people, regardless of their preferences.

More than half the population say that they would “accept” a gay family member, that gay and lesbian people should be included “in my culture and tradition” and that they should be given the same human rights as all other South Africans.

A huge majority (8 out of every 10 people) also said that they have not, nor would they ever consider, verbally or physically abusing someone who was gender non-conforming.

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With the help of this project South Africans who are "different" can find support and tell their stories.

Every story can be an inspiration to someone who feels alone and is struggling with being "different".

Watch the Top 5: South Africa's richest people video and check out what else is happening at Briefly South Africa's YouTube channel.

How do you feel about the Unheard voices project? Let us know on our Facebook page and we could share your opinion.

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Source: Briefly.co.za

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