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Principal forces students to out themselves in public

A full investigation by South African LGBT groups and local authorities is underway after a school principal forces her students to out themselves
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A South African principal is facing an investigation by LGBT rights groups and local authorities after she forced students to admit in front of other students and their parents that they are gay.

Nomampondomise Kosani of Ulwazi High School in Mdantsane called a kangaroo court of 38 students between the ages of 14 and 18 to allegedly have female schoolgoers point out their girlfriends.

The assembly was in response to discovering two girls kissing in the bathroom during school.

Kosani has refused to comment on the allegations.

But The Commission for Gender Equality, provincial department of education, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and intersex (LGBTI) community and the Democratic Alliance are not taking the incident lightly and have launched an investigation into the matter.

South Africa is very progressive when it comes to the gay community, same-sex marriage has been legal since 2006, gay couples can adopt children and gender transition statutes are in place to help people with surgery, changing gender on documents and protect them from workplace discrimination.

Commission for Gender Equality legal adviser Kerry Anne Oosthuysen said that her department will probe into the matter as the South African constitution provides protections against LGBT discrimination.

Justice, crime prevention and security departments along with civil society organizations and the LGBTI community were called together to discuss Kosani’s behavior and what to do next.

Former premier and DA MPL Nosimo Balindlela is concerned with the principal’s humiliation tactics, calling them “harsh and unfair.”

She said the school’s counselors need to have a better understanding of their communities, both gay and straight.

“These young girls should be helped to understand their choices rather than being humiliated,” Balindlela said. “They should be educated rather than scorned by teachers [fixated] on their sexual orientation.”

Nomfundiso Joseph, a South African LGBT leader said the reaction on Principal Kosani’s part may have been different if the people caught kissing were not of the same-sex and it's also a matter of safety. 

“In a society that has not accepted homosexuality, the principal has put the pupils at a number of risks such as prejudice, gender violence and rejection at home and in communities,” said Joseph.

“Coming out is a deeply personal choice. The school needs immediate intervention and training on homo- sexuality.”

Provincial education spokesperson Malibongwe Mtima is also not pleased with the Kosan’s public ridicule of the students and plans to look into the allegations himself, saying if the allegations are true she has broken the law.

“As the department we feel very offended and whoever is behind this will have to face [our] wrath,” said Mtima.

“These actions go against the constitution of South Africa and the department will have to follow up on the matter.”