South Africa Appoints Lesbian Cabinet Minister


Lynne Brown has been appointed the position of South Africa’s Minister of Public Enterprises, making her the country’s first openly gay cabinet minister.

The role is the highest-profile held by an openly gay person in Africa.

Last week, South Africa gained its first openly gay black member of parliament when Zakhele Mbhele was elected.

Gay political author Eusebius McKaiser made these comments to the Guardian:

“It is, sadly, probably newsworthy, I guess, insofar as the social impact of openly gay people in high-profile public leadership positions cannot be discounted in a country like South Africa where levels of homophobia, including violence against black lesbian women, remain rife.”

Steven Friedman, director of the Centre for the Study of Democracy told the Guardian he thought that Brown’s appointment as South Africa’s first openly gay cabinet minister was “worth drawing attention to.”

“She’s not a gay rights campaigner – it’s not recognition in that sense – but the fact that under the most socially conservative president since 1994 there is the first openly gay minister in such a position is significant.”

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