SHRG in South Africa

Taken from Brian Dempsey (1995) Thon Wey (USG, Edinburgh)

The SMG/SHRG membership inevitably reflected the attitudes towards race prevalent in society as a whole. In general the issue of racism within SMG/SHRG was not addressed at all despite most activists having a personal commitment to anti-racism. The reasons for this range from the view that Scotland does not have a problem with racism, that there were few if any black people in the organisation or on the scene, that it may cause division amongst members "unnecessarily", or just that it was impolite to mention difference in the first place.

However, in 1987 SHRG did take a leading position in the successful campaign to have the Gay Association of South Africa (GASA) excluded from ILGA on the grounds that GASA was a predominantly white group which did not take an anti-apartheid stance (Gay Scotland, #27 & 30). SHRG had opposed GASA's membership from 1983, and in the struggle to expel GASA, SHRG supported other South African groups such as the Rand Gay Organisation (RGO) as having a "genuine multi-racial membership and clear opposition to apartheid" (Gay Scotland 30). They also publicised and urged support for, the case of Simon Nkoli, an RGO member on trial for his life for protesting against apartheid (Gay Scotland 28). At the 1987 ILGA conference the vote to suspend GASA was won and shortly after this GASA collapsed thus removing the issue from the agenda. This campaign is seen as one of the most effective of SHRG's in the international gay movement although the work done on it was limited to a few leading members of the group.

For further comments see: Queeruption Crosses the Line by repost of article by Deeg, Tuesday May 16th, 2006.