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Mandela Supported LGBT Equality

By Charlotte Robinson, December 07, 2013

With the passing of Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first post-Apartheid President, we mourn the loss of an outspoken advocate for LGBT equality. During his presidency he appointed an openly gay judge to South Africa's High Court of Appeal & South Africa became the first nation in the world to constitutionally prohibit sexual orientation-based discrimination. Mandela will be remembered for his social justice activism & commitment to equality for all people. Gay activist Peter Tatchell stated, “Nelson Mandela was an African liberation hero & a supporter of LGBT human rights. He continued the liberation struggle pioneered by Kwame Nkrumah & ranks with Mohandas Gandhi & Martin Luther King as one of the world’s great humanitarians. His government supported LGBT equality & ended legal discrimination against LGBT people. Mandela was a political & moral giant. He led the victorious liberation struggle against apartheid, & then pioneered the peaceful transition to multi-racial democracy. He was the first African leader to embrace LGBT rights. His extraordinary compassion & forgiveness led to reconciliation with his former white supremacist oppressors. For all these reasons, he is a global icon & a gay icon. Few people in history can match his moral stature.” However, Tatchell added that Mandela was not without his shortcomings. His presidency didn’t do enough to tackle poverty, HIV & Mandela also failed to speak out against Mugabe’s tyranny & homophobia in Zimbabwe.
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