We swooshed past women’s month as though it never happened, while many enjoyed the holiday and its somewhat frivolous nature attached to it, this, owed to its perceived detachment to women’s struggles in current day South Africa. That said, the government does their part in galvanizing the republic to pay tribute to the more than 20 000 women who marched to the union buildings on August 9 of 1956 in protest against the extension of pass laws to women.
I don’t mean to sound preachy, but what seems to be lacking is the authentic joint effort needed to face some of the issues that make many women passive to this day and not give it the attention it deserves.
As a gender non-conforming person I know that absolutely nothing is done to commemorate the day in a way that includes me as well as other gender-non-conforming women for that matter. I have often asked many like-minded friends how they would feel included with regards to women’s day and women’s month, the common feeling is usually that we would like to benefit more from our healthcare system. One that is specifically aimed at or tailor made for lesbians. It sometimes takes days that celebrate something like Pride and Women’s day for us to really think about what we want.
Ever notice how Pride events are awesome ‘one-stop shops’ from having mobile HIV testing booths, to sex toys stalls, leather goodies gazebos and even the occasional mobile pet store. I often find myself asking myself, why do I get more excited over Pride than Women’s month? I guess it’s because it is more festive and I identify with it as it is speaks to my sexuality. Maybe if Women’s month catered for women who really do love women, than we would get more excited about it. Until then, I am going to keep on looking forward to the Pride season because if gives me some of the stuff I want. It is cool to have free health-related offerings at these gatherings because they are sensitive to my sexuality and accepting compared to the mainstream or public health offerings that are rigid, prescriptive and homophobic.
Some private health services are no different. Recently a lesbian couple I know were at a clinic after just having their son and mommy number 2 wanted to spend the night with her partner and their newborn, but were told by the staff that that right is only reserved for new fathers. I mean, REALLY? Is this for real and really happening in our time. Personal prejudice should never interfere with human rights.
Maybe next time Women’s month comes around we should make more of a noise and stand up for all women, regardless of sexuality, to be able to enjoy our rights that those brave women, just like us, fought for us to have all those years ago.