South African Activist Murdered in Hate Crime

By Julie Bolcer

Originally published on Advocate.com June 14 2012 9:51 AM ET

 

An activist identified as a gay transgender man was killed in an apparent hate crime, the latest in a series of such incidents in South Africa.

The Associated Press reports on Thapelo Makutle, who was found dead and with throat cut in a rented room in Kuruma in northwestern South Africa on Saturday. Police are investigating the crime as a murder.

Jabu Pereira of the local LGBT rights group LEGBO told the AP that the lack of any theft and the appearance of the mutilated body suggested a hate crime, which would carry an enhanced penalty. “Makutle’s body was found under a blanket with his throat cut and tongue removed, Pereira said. His genitals were also cut off and put in his mouth, witnesses told Pereira.”

Pink News reports that Makutle, whom the police report said was 23 years old, identified as gay and transgender. The victim had recently been crowned Miss Gay Kuruman and was a drag queen known as Queen Bling. Makutle also volunteered for LEGBO.

A memorial service is scheduled for Friday afternoon and local gay activists are planning a protest. News 24 reports that there have been at least 15 attacks against gay and lesbian people in the area in the past three months, and activists believe the police response has been weak.

Shaine Griqua, director of LEGBO, said that a lesbian had been brutally murdered within the past month. “The woman, whose family does not want her identified, had her vagina mutilated and a broken bottle shoved into it,” according to News 24.