Churchwomen help the vulnerable find belonging at SA’s new queer shelter

Churchwomen help the vulnerable find belonging at SA’s new queer shelter

2022-01-27 08:13:00 PM

Churchwomen help the vulnerable find belonging at SA’s new queer shelter

A mother and daughter behind the newly opened haven for LGBTQIA+ people in Ekurhuleni have created a sanctuary for those seeking a sense of home.

It is not what I expected. The address is correct. But as I stand outside the tiny, nondescript house from which the laughter of women sounds, nothing about it hints that it is a shelter — especially not one for destitute queer people.Made up of church women, the group travels the country — “wherever we are asked to assist” — to conscientise and support parents of queer children.

On the day I meet them, the women are gathered in a three-bedroom house in Ekurhuleni, east of Johannesburg, to pray for the newly established queer shelter, Turning Tides.In the cramped lounge, Msezane opens the prayer session. “It is only God [who] can give protection from above,” she says. “And therefore this prayer is meant to really ask God to look after ... these people who now live here. And look after this place and just hide them under his wings. To hide them because they have had enough of pain and suffering and being ostracised. So if this place is to be home, if this place is to be a place where they can say ‘at last we are free’, we must be sure of its safety. Let us pray...”

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