Lesbians are members of the human family with the same rights to dignity, respect, equality, happiness, freedom from discrimination and violence as all other human beings. As girls and young women they have the same right to love and support as all our other children. Yet learning that our daughter, niece, sister, cousin, friend is a lesbian often comes as a shock - something we have not prepared ourselves for. This is especially the case where we have uncritically taken on social, cultural and religious prejudices and beliefs that being a lesbian is abnormal, unnatural, sinful, in other words not human, and therefore something to be ashamed of and hidden away.
- We may go into denial and reject what we are hearing, hoping that this is just a 'passing phase'.
- We may blame ourselves for not raising our daughters properly.
- We may take them to doctors, social workers, psychologists or traditional healers to try and make them 'straight'.
- We may reject them, beat them, verbally abuse them, throw them out of our homes and disown them.
None of these reactions would occur to us if we lived in a society that promoted understanding and respect for the human rights of all its
citizens in all their diversity, as required by our Constitution.
This booklet aims to help parents, families and friends of young lesbians to better understand and overcome our own fears and prejudices so that we can give them the respect, love and support they need and deserve.