Cape Town - Homophobic comments by a religious man have the potential to inspire physical attack against the LGBTQIA+ community, activists groups have warned.
Triangle Project said queerphobic comments by city resident Taariq Jaftha on social media are endangering the lives of queer individuals.
This after a month-long public anti-queer campaign by Jaftha, using his online platforms to condemn the queer community based on religious beliefs.
Jaftha recently announced he would be launching anti-pride merchandise. Depicted in a sneak preview on Instagram was a white T-shirt with a washing machine at the centre inside a brain with pride colours seeping out of the machine. The entire image had been crossed out.
Triangle Project Health and support services manager Sharon Cox said not taking action in any situation where violence, hate, prejudice and discrimination is taking place, is as good as being complicit in it.
“People have the right to believe what they believe but do not have the right to launch hateful and harmful campaigns that have the ability to incite violence,” Cox said.
Cox said people do this for various reasons.
“Some are fundamentalist in their thinking, believing they have a duty to preach and spread messages such as these, and others may be grappling with their own orientation or identity and may have internalised homophobic and transphobic messages - a way of deflecting or fighting internalised feelings.
Triangle Project offers services to ensure the full realisation of constitution and human rights for LGBTQIA+ persons, their partners and families.
“Mr Jaftha would do well to critically think about what he is putting out. It has real consequences for people who are LGBTQIA+. We do not need to be witness to any more attacks, rapes and murders of LGBTQIA+ people because of prejudice and hate.
“We are real people with real lives and many; the majority of LGBTQIA+ people have real fears for safety. It’s a sad fact that people have to worry about living but have to be far more concerned about the manner in which they will die.”
Jaftha was reached for a right of reply, but chose not to comment for print at time of publication.
His Instagram and Twitter accounts have since been deactivated.