Kgashane Malesa (University of South Africa)

(South Africa)

Topic: Psychosocial effects of unsafe space on the LGBTI community

Thematic area: 

  • Threats to Human Rights in Relation to the Delivery of Social Services

  • Social Work and Social Rights / Social Protection Floor

Language: English 


Safe space is usually identified as a protected and inclusive place where one can express his or her identity freely and comfortably. However, unsafe space is still a concern for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI) individuals in South Africa regardless of being protected by the Constitution which is recognised and respected worldwide.
The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa,1996 in particular section (12) (1) (c) and (2) (b), highlights the right to freedom and security of every person. Section (9) deals with the protection of LGBTQI rights which forbids discrimination based on sex, gender, or sexual orientation and section 10 which promotes human dignity and protection.
Therefore, the LGBTQI community should not be experiencing discomfort in any environment they find themselves in. However, it is evident that there is still a gap to be filled since the LGBTQI community continues to feel unsafe even in places which they consider a refuge; and this has psychosocial effects. The purpose of this article is to explore the negative effects that unsafe spaces can have on LGBTQI members through an analysis of studies that focused on issues relating to LGBTQI and unsafe space.
A comprehensive desktop electronic research was carried out to gather relevant data and themes identified from studies conducted between 2014 and 2018. Analysis showed that the phenomenon of space is still a major concern which requires stakeholders to be more responsive to the concerns of the LGBTQI community.