Who are we? Kubatana Kwedu (KK) was established in January 2016 to address the issue of unemployment, and exclusion from employment opportunities, of young lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and other gender-diverse (LGBT+) South Africans. Its aim is to uplift the socio-economic status of its target group through entrepreneurship. It is a non-profit membership-based organisation working currently in the Johannesburg area. We have 50 members and 10 staff, most of whom are volunteers. They use social media platforms and word of mouth to get information about our organisation to the public. What was the issue? As a direct result of sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination, young LGBT+ persons find it very difficult to access financial and economic resources and opportunities. Some have been denied, or lost, jobs; or have received discriminatory treatment within their work environment, because of their sexual orientation. Those who are artists or small manufacturers are excluded from mainstream markets that offer small businesses an opportunity to display and sell their wares.
What was the change we wanted to see?
We wanted to eradicate internalised stigma among our target group, and to shift the focus from sexuality towards financial and economic advancement. We wanted to create links between young LGBT+ people interested in business and entrepreneurship and other young people and business enthusiasts who do not identify as LGBT+. This would help to dispel the feeling of isolation often felt by young LGBT+ persons and to expose them to opportunities outside of their own circles. We also wanted to provide mental and emotional health support, as well as help people find ways to sustain themselves. Most of all, what we wanted to see was a focus on our common humanity – on what makes people similar, rather than the ways in which we are different.