Lesbians and the right to equality: Perceptions of people in a local Western Cape community
When lesbians, as women divert from social norms and reject the compulsory heterosexual norm, they are either punished through legal systems for transgressing patriarchial structures or not recognised at all. As women, lesbians suffer at the hands of a homophobic society which believs that women have stepped out of line through challenging the hegemonic discourses stipulating that they have specific and distinct roles to play - that of wives, mothers, homemakers and sexual partners to men. Because lesbians do not fit into this construct, their behaviour is socially and legally condemned for diverting from the "natural order". This study aimed to identify and explore the various ways people construct and perceive lesbians and to reveal how sexuality, as a product of history and culture, determines the ways lesbians are treated in their own communities. This study attempted to explore how, despite the democratic stance of the new constitution, South African lesbians still experience discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation.