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International Women’s Day 2021 – #choosetochallenge

Today, 8 March 2021, marks International Women’s Day. OUT LGBT Well-being and the Love Not Hate campaign honour these three fierce and tenacious women for their significant contributions in the pursuit of equality, access and dignity of LGBTI persons.

The theme this year for International Women’s Day is #ChooseTochallenge.

A challenged world is an alert world. Individually, we are all responsible for our own thoughts and actions – all day, every day. We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world.

These three notable women have managed to do exactly that!

Bev Palesa Ditsie (Dr. Hon)

“We have come to realise that Patriarchy is the vehicle through which all our oppressions are delivered. And so the time has come to end this evil system. That is the new frontier.”

Dr Bev Palesa Ditsie (Hon) is a radical gender non-conforming lesbian activist, an award-winning filmmaker, musician, spiritual healer and warrior who was instrumental in bringing LGBTIQ+ rights into focus in the late 80s and 90s in SA and the world.

She is the first in many things but is best known for being the first African lesbian to address the UN at the 4th World Conference on Women in Beijing (1995). This is the subject of her latest documentary, Lesbians Free Everyone, produced entirely during the global lockdown of 2020.

Her mission is simple: to change narratives that uphold patriarchy through the erasure and the misrepresentation of the feminine in history. Throughout her activism, her aim has been to undo the lies and simply tell Her-Story.

Dr Dulcy Rakumakoe

“No matter where you are in life, inspire and empower the women around you. Success is never reached alone. And wisdom and wealth are sweeter shared.” – Mizzfit

Dr Dulcy Rakumakoe holds an MBBCH degree from Wits University, a Diploma in Occupational Health, a Diploma in HIV Management, Travel Medicine Diploma, Masters of Science in Sports Medicine and a Masters in Business Administration Degree from GIBS.

Dr Dulcy is a social entrepreneur with a passion for providing healthcare and wellness solutions for low and middle-income communities in South Africa. She is the 2016 Social Entrepreneurship Regional Business Achiever award winner for the Business Women’s Association, Queer Warrior 2020, Santam Woman Of The Future 2020 winner and the 2020 Role Model of the Year Feather Awards winner.

Dr Dulcy founded U-Care Medical Centres in 2013 after being a General Practitioner for 11 years. In 2019, she co-founded Queerwell, which is an NPO that provides access to mental health services for the LGBTIAQ+ community. This was formally launched in March 2020 and has quickly grown. It has so far provided mental healthcare, support and education to more than 1,000 queer people across Africa.

Dr Dulcy is the Board Chairperson of the Forum For the Empowerment of Women (FEW), and a board member of the SA HIV Clinicians Society, the Professional Association for Transgender Health (PATH) and the Aurum Key Populations Advisory Board. She is a regular guest on Alex Fm, Jozi Fm, Metro Fm and Kaya Fm and contributes weekly to the Citizen newspaper and Bona magazine, talking all things health.

Gita November

“Ask the uncomfortable questions and you already challenge to change.”

A former professional sex worker by profession, Gita November entered the HIV prevention world ten years ago and has been working around the clock in the fight against HIV and Aids.

Gita previously worked at Sweat (South Africa’s Sex Worker Education and Advocacy Taskforce) as a site coordinator. She currently works for an organisation that helps with HIV prevention and gender-affirming healthcare services where hormone replacement therapy is distributed free of charge to transgender women

She is the founding member of Trans Tec SA, which works in the Cape Winelands and Garden Route to provide technical support to transgender and gender non-conforming organisations and individuals. She also serves as Chair of the Board at the Trans Wellness Project, working with transgender women in the rural areas of the West Coast and five other provinces. She is committed to bringing change to the transgender community and believes that without commitment you will never start and without consistency, you will never finish.