“INTO NJE – IT’S JUST A THING…”: BEING A LESBIAN IN A RURAL AREA

  • Shadile Ntuli University of KwaZulu-Natal
  • Nolwazi Ngcobo University of KwaZulu-Natal
Keywords: lesbian, rural, urban, culture, religion

Abstract

The South African Constitution prohibits discrimination against individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation, yet the experiences of lesbians across various contexts is different. A thematic analysis of 10 in-depth qualitative interviews with lesbian students from rural areas expands the limited knowledge base on this issue. Although these students are studying in an urban area, this article explores the experience of lesbians in rural areas in the light of the prevailing discourses on homosexuality. The findings revealed that due to certain religious and traditional beliefs, lesbianism continues to be perceived by many, for example, as “just a thing”, unnatural, a passing phase, an embarrassment and a sin. These prevailing constructions often deterred lesbian youths from being themselves, thus forcing them to manage multiple identities between rural and urban contexts. Social workers as well as other human rights advocates should, through their research and practice, aim to make communities aware of human rights discourses that promote affirmation, safety and support for the LGBTQI population in rural areas.

Author Biographies

Shadile Ntuli, University of KwaZulu-Natal
Postgraduate student, University of KwaZulu-Natal  
Nolwazi Ngcobo, University of KwaZulu-Natal
University of KwaZulu-Natal  
Published
2022-11-30
How to Cite
Ntuli, S., & Ngcobo, N. (2022). “INTO NJE – IT’S JUST A THING…”: BEING A LESBIAN IN A RURAL AREA. Social Work/Maatskaplike Werk, 58(4), 478-500. https://doi.org/10.15270/58-4-1077
Section
Articles