Claremont High School pupils marched peacefully in support of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) awareness in schools on Tuesday June 15.
June is World Pride Month as well as being Youth Month in South Africa and many of the pupils wore the rainbow colours of the LGBTQ+ flag with their uniforms and waved the flag during the march.
Many gathered on the traffic island in front of Arderne Gardens in the Main Road, Claremont, displaying placards which read “Love knows no gender,” “We say no to homophobia,” and “Someday we won’t have to come out”.
Grade 12 pupil Stormé Luddy who arranged the peaceful demonstration, said it was important to support the LGBTQ+ community. “It is important to share the light as many people think that members of the LGBTQ+ community choose to be this way, though they need to acknowledge that this is who they are,” she said.
Teacher Leila Emdon who helped the pupils organise the initiative said she was proud of them. “I am blown away by the leadership taken by the matrics in getting the younger grades involved and organising meetings despite them having a heavy workload,” she said.
Ms Emdon said the pupils had taken it further by having workshops that provided information about the LGBTQ+ community as well as having information boards up at the school to provide further information. “They have pushed the school to try and tackle the issues relating to homophobia,”she said.
Deputy principal Natalie Niekerk also participated in the march. “It’s important for our pupils to learn tolerance and to embrace diversity within our communities,”she said.
Ms Niekerk added that it was important at Claremont High to teach the pupils that everyone had the right to be who they were and to associate with whomever they wanted to. “It’s enshrined in our South African Constitution,” she said.