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Social Work

versión On-line ISSN 2312-7198
versión impresa ISSN 0037-8054


NTULI, Shadile  y  NGCOBO, Nolwazi. "Into nje - it's just a thing...": being a lesbian in a rural area. Social work (Stellenbosch. Online) [online]. 2022, vol.58, n.4, pp.478-500. ISSN 2312-7198.

The South African Constitution prohibits discrimination against individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation, yet the experiences of lesbians across various contexts is different. A thematic analysis of 10 in-depth qualitative interviews with lesbian students from rural areas expands the limited knowledge base on this issue. Although these students are studying in an urban area, this article explores the experience of lesbians in rural areas in the light of the prevailing discourses on homosexuality. The findings revealed that due to certain religious and traditional beliefs, lesbianism continues to be perceived by many, for example, as "just a thing", unnatural, a passing phase, an embarrassment and a sin. These prevailing constructions often deterred lesbian youths from being themselves, thus forcing them to manage multiple identities between rural and urban contexts. Social workers as well as other human rights advocates should, through their research and practice, aim to make communities aware of human rights discourses that promote affirmation, safety and support for the LGBTQI population in rural areas.

Palabras clave : lesbian; rural; urban; culture; religion.

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