Balancing Act: South African Gay and Lesbian Youth Speak Out
Joanne Bloch & Karen Martin
Publisher: New Africa Books
Pages: 80 pp
Currently Balancing Act is out of print, a copy is available for viewing in the Gala Library
In Balancing Act: South African Gay and Lesbian Youth Speak Out, twenty-one young South Africans from a range of social backgrounds speak candidly about their experiences, hopes and dreams. Written specifically for use in schools, the book contains insightful and useful teaching notes relating to the area of Life Orientation.
For many young people in South Africa, coming to terms with their sexual orientation can be a very painful experience. Although protection against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is guaranteed in the national constitution, lesbian and gay youths often face a lack of acceptance by family and society. ‘Sometimes I feel sad and lonely, like my family doesn’t love me,’ explains seventeen year old Sandile. ‘But I have to deal with the facts: it’s not easy to accept that your child is gay. There are very few parents who would, because of the stigma.’
Balancing Act explores the lives of South African lesbian and gay youth in a manner that challenges stereotypes and prejudices, and provides much needed information to young lesbian and gay people. The book not only focuses on the difficulties faced, but also the positive options and strategies adopted by well adjusted young people, thus providing positive role models that readers can relate to as they begin to make their own life choices.
Since the experiences described in Balancing Act are related to issues affecting all youth, whatever their sexual orientation, the book is relevant to all young people growing up in South Africa.