- A young man has inspired many after completing his Master's degree
- His research involved studies into the LGBT community
- He funded his own studies after his dad cut him off for being gay
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The University of KwaZulu-Natal on Friday conferred masters degrees on two students for their ground-breaking research into the province's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities. One of the students graduated with a Master's on Population studies for his research in the user of sexual health services by gay students in the area.
Sthembiso Pollen Mkhize's research explored the burdens confronted by the LGBT community when accessing reproductive health services. He said that the study was very personal to him because he identifies as gay.
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He said that he was happy to contribute data to the limited research available on their community.
The results of his study show that LGBT youth are victims of stigmatisation, prejudice and marginalisation within the South African health system. He further highlighted the need to revisit and revise policies to improve the lives of all.
As a gay man, Mkhize says that he did not get any support from his father. He had to apply for loans to fund his studies. He revealed that he battled with anxiety and depression.
"However with prayer, faith and by the grace of God, I was able to overcome everything that came my way."
He thanks all those who supported him, including his supervisor. His advice to others is to never let anything be intimidating. He says that everyone has a unique purpose in life.
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His future plans involve establishing a non-profit organisation to support the LGBT community with a platform to share their struggles.
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