Nelson Mandela had a strong, positive impact on LGBT civil rights. His passing today is a loss for all communities around the world.
LGBT civil rights organizations issued the following statements on the late South African President’s passing.
Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin said Mandela “united a rainbow nation,” a reference to the late South African President’s call to people of al colors to stay in the country after apartheid ended.
HRC — Chad Griffin, President
“Nelson Mandela tore down oppression, united a rainbow nation, and always walked arm-in-arm with his LGBT brothers and sisters—and with all people—toward freedom. Though every man, woman and child who seeks justice around the world mourns this loss, his vision of an equal future lives on undimmed.”
Mandela, who was South Africa’s first post-Apartheid president, was an outspoken advocate for LGBT equality. He appointed an openly-gay judge to South Africa’s High Court of Appeal and during his presidency, South Africa became the first nation in the world to constitutionally prohibit sexual orientation-based discrimination. Mandela will be remembered for his social justice activism and commitment to equality for all people.
“Nelson Mandela is an inspiration to millions around the globe and a personal hero to me. He overcame hardship and discrimination to craft the first constitution that recognized the dignity and humanity of all people, including LGBT people,” said Wilson Cruz, GLAAD’s National Spokesperson. “We will continue to learn and grow from his legacy, even as we mourn his passing and honor his memory.”
“We are deeply saddened to hear about Nelson Mandela’s passing. Yet, we are hopeful his legacy of tolerance and mutual respect will live on for generations,” Andre Banks, Executive Director and Co-Founder of All Out said. “As All Out continues to work with partners throughout Africa to free those who are oppressed and imprisoned for who they are and who they love, we will be inspired by Nelson Mandela’s story and words.”
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force – Rea Carey, Executive Director
Nelson Mandela was an inspiration to the millions of people who yearn for freedom across the world. With great personal sacrifice, he fought Apartheid and state-sanctioned racism. His principled approach, his willingness to reach out to former enemies, led to the introduction of multi-party democracy and real change in South Africa. Indeed, South Africa’s post-apartheid constitution was the first in the world to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation. His legacy is hope; hope that people can achieve peace and freedom in a world with more than its fair share of conflict.
Lambda Legal joins others around the world in mourning the loss of Nelson Mandela, one of the 20th century’s giants in the struggle for justice and human dignity. Every one of us who continues the fight for equality and civil rights in our own communities labors in the shadows of this man who withstood imprisonment as a consequence of his courageous leadership and grew only stronger, more resolute and more dignified. As South Africa’s first elected black president, he led the people of his country toward reconciliation and forgiveness. Under his leadership, the new constitution of South Africa included explicit prohibitions against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation – a degree of legal protection that LGBT people still do not have in the United States.
Image by Kim Anais via Instagram
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