In 2000, PRIDE adopted the NCGLE as its sole community project. The NCGLE works towards the achievement of full legal and social equality for lesbian and gay people in South Africa.
The NCGLE has three broad purposes. These may be defined as follows:
- To achieve permanent, real equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people through affecting fundamental change in social attitudes to sexuality
- To defeat discriminatory legislation and exclusionary policies and practices
- To build a strong social movement of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people with a fully representative leadership and activist base.
The NCGLE currently has two major projects:
- The Equal Rights Project (ERP) was established in September 1996 to address the legal and educational aspects of legal discrepancies with the Bill of Rights and achieve the full implementation of its provision concerning sexual orientation.
The project co-ordinates the employment equity campaign, produces and distributes educational materials and workshops, provides paralegal training, liases with attorneys and advocates on specific cases and on policy-based legal challenges, networks with other human rights organisations, conducts research, and complies resource databases.
- The Lobbying and Advocacy Project (LAP) is the oldest project of the NCGLE. It was central to lobbying for the final inclusion of sexual orientation in the equality clause of the Constitution.
Its most recent successes include: negotiating non-discriminatory benefits for partners of lesbian and gay people in the South African National Defence Force and initial recognition of same-sex relationships for immigration purposes by the Department of Home Affairs.
LAP functions as a parliamentary office and maintains effective communication with political parties, members of parliament, NCGLE affiliates, government departments and human rights bodies.
The Constitution guarantees equality for all and expressly protects lesbian and gay people from unfair discrimination. Since the first democratic election of 1994, new laws and government policies have also outlawed discrimination against lesbian and gay people.
Despite these laws and policies, there are still hate attacks and assaults on lesbian and gay people. LGBT people still face discrimination at work, at school, at home and in society generally. Their relationships are still not fully recognised by the law. The NCGLE is still working for full rights to adoption, custody and legal recognition of LGBT relationships.
The NCGLE wants full equality for all South Africans. It is not asking for special privileges. Old prejudices and laws, and the violence and discrimination that accompany them will continue to haunt the LGBT community until the main political parties address those issues seriously.
The NCGLE is available to the public from Monday through Friday from 9h00 to 17h30 at its offices in 36 Grafton Rd, Yeoville, Johannesburg and can be reached by mail at:
PO Box 27811
Current NCGLE staff includes:
Carrie Shelver, Director
Evert Knoesen GLLAC/ERP Co-ordinator
Wendy Isaack GLLAC Paralegal
The Equality Newsletter, the official quarterly newsletter of the NCGLE, is available from the NCGLE offices or can be posted to interested parties.