If you think that primary pupils are too young to discuss LGBTQ+ issues, then think again.
Retired Constitutional Court Justice and human rights activist Edwin Cameron was at ease taking to pupils at Guild Cottage in Johannesburg – of which Justice Cameron is Patron – about what it means “to be different” and live as a gay man in South Africa.
During his brief address in a room full of curious young minds, Justice Cameron spoke at length about his life as a gay man in South Africa where growing up LGBTQ+ people were hardly ever visible or discussed.
Explaining to the young ones what Pride Month is, he said: “Amongst all people, black and white, Venda speaking, Xhosa, Jewish or Muslim, about 10% that is 1 in 10 people – so amongst the girls here – maybe one of you might be different in their sexual orientation or sexual identity and that’s something for you to discover later. But what Pride Month says is that whatever you are, whether you are gay, transgender or lesbian, a girl who doesn’t want be a girl and feels as though you really are a boy and wants to transition, or a man like me who is attracted to a man, you have the right to be.
“I am a gay man, I am proudly gay because that’s the way I am, I have no choice about it. I didn’t choose to be gay.”
As Avon pointed out, this kind of candid discussions are important given that children often and unfairly bear the brunt of maltreatment and physical and sexual abuse.
In South Africa, it is estimated that 42% of children have experienced some form of ill-treatment and 82% have either experienced or witnessed some form of victimisation. The figures were released by Optimus National Prevalence Study, the first-ever nationally representative study of child maltreatment in South Africa.
At Avon Justine, we believe in beauty democracy which isinclusive beauty that is open to allMomin Hukamdad, executive commercial marketing director at Avon Justine SA
Hukamdad said the commemoration of Pride Month resonates with the company’s values as “it speaks to the importance of giving women agency and the freedom to choose whom they want to love without any fear of violent reprisals, as has tragically been the case in this country.”
He added: “At Avon Justine, we believe in beauty democracy which isinclusive beauty that is open to all. Through our support of the Guild Cottage and Pride Month, Avon Justine is nailing its colours to the mast and reaffirming its commitment to being a fearless activist that will champion for the removal of any barriers that hold women back.”
Pride Month is celebrated globally each year in the month of June to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall riots, the uprising that marked the beginning of a movement to outlaw discriminatory laws and practices against LGBT community.
“I am delighted that Avon has made this donation to a thoroughly deserving children’s project,” concluded Judge Cameron.
Situated in Parktown, North of Johannesburg, Guild Cottage is a specialised facility and rehabilitation home and place of safety for children who have been physically, emotionally, and sexually abused.
*For more inspiring stories from our gallery on how Avon Justine is using the power of beauty to transform lives, click here.