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Girlfriends (SS)

Simone Scholtz/Twenty Ten

Associated features on women in soccer: A female football fan, Ghana (Photo feature), Old is gold, Kenya (Photo feature), La Femme en Noir, Congo (Photo feature), Football Iron Lady, Liberia (Photo feature), Hijabs for soccer boots, Egypt (Audio feature), Femme et foot, Burkina Faso (Audio feature), Women supporters, Ghana (Audio feature), Sudan female football (Audio feature), Women in Egypt (Audio feature), Femme arbitre, Congo (Audio feature), Personal penalties (Text feature), Femme de footballeur (Text feature), Passion de femme (Text feature) and War on women (Text feature)

A portrait series of a lesbian soccer team.

It is common belief amongst many that it is 'unnatural' and uncommon for black Africans to be gay. There are enough gay and lesbian African men and women to prove this belief to be a myth. The discrimination that they face for their choice is no myth though.

In 2007 Banyana-Banyana (South African national women's soccer team) midfielder, Eudy Simelane was gang raped and stabbed to death in KwaThemba, Springs in Gauteng. She was living openly as a lesbian in her community and the violence was declared most likely a hate crime due to her sexuality. In the traditionally patriarchal African society violence against lesbians and corrective rape is a reality for many gay women.

The discrimination in their community caused a group of young lesbians in Mbekweni township to come together and form their own soccer team, a haven that they have created where they feel accepted and safe. These photos were taken as part of a portrait series of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual & transexual) Paarl soccer team taken in the dressing rooms of Mbekweni community stadium.

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