A 23-year old gay man, Thapelo Makutle, was beheaded in his home town of Kuruman, South Africa Friday. Reports today add horrific details to Makutle’s murder: he was “severely mutilated,” and his genitals were “severed and inserted into his mouth,” Global Post reports today, citing “a statement by gay and lesbian rights groups.” Makutle also identified as transgender.
Yesterday, The New Civil Rights Movement reported that Thapelo Makutle, a transgender and gay man, was beheaded in his home town of Kuruman, South Africa Friday, in an anti-gay hate crime. Thapelo Makutle, who was crowned Miss Gay Kuruman, was murdered by two men who remain at large. Reports state that police, for reasons of language and training, are not classifying the murder as a hate crime, and do not understand the significance of the attack. One report states the police reject that Makutle was beheaded, but acknowledge his throat was slashed.
“‘It is worse that we initially thought. Part of his testicles and penis were cut out and stuffed into his mouth,’ [Shaine] Griqua said. ‘I tried to speak to the forensic doctor, who was not able to elaborate. The police are refusing to admit that this is a hate crime,’” Global Post, reporting today, adds:
Makutle’s “genitalia was severed and inserted into his mouth,” a statement by gay and lesbian rights groups said, citing unconfirmed reports from witnesses.
“His throat was so badly slit, and it was near decapitation.”
The men followed Makutle back to his rented room, broke down the door and attacked him, according to Shaine Griqua, director of the group LEGBO Northern Cape.
“There are no signs that this was an attempted burglary, rather [it] is evident that [he] was killed because of his sexual orientation,” a statement said.
Griqua told the Diamond Fields Advertiser, a newspaper in the Northern Cape, that Makutle’s tongue and genitals were removed.
A report by Human Rights Watch described an “epidemic” of hate crimes against gays and lesbians in South Africa.
“The threat of violence that dominates the lives of lesbians, bisexual women, and transgender men, particularly in poorer and non-urban areas, beggars belief,” said Dipika Nath, a researcher in the New York-based group’s LGBT rights program.
Griqua said hate crimes are increasingly common in the Northern Cape, and police are poorly trained to deal with incidents of violence against gays and lesbians.
“These people [the police] are not reliable. They don’t even know what a hate crime is. If you ask them if it was related to his sexuality they will say ‘no’ because they don’t understand the context,” Griqua told MambaOnline, a South African website.
According to LEGBO Northern Cape and other groups, a young lesbian was murdered earlier this year in Magojaneng village, near Kuruman, but police poorly investigated her death.
“She was mutilated, her genitalia cut out and a bottle was inserted into her body,” a LEGBO statement said.
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