South Africa and its citizens have enjoyed 25 years of democracy under one of the world’s most progressive constitutions in terms of protection from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. But since the passing of this document by the Constitutional Assembly, the lived realities of most LGBTI South Africans lags well behind the constitution’s ringing promises, especially in the workplace.

LGBTI people continue to face workplace discrimination and exclusion, seriously harming their economic lives as active members of the South African economy. Existing protections in the workplace have had some successes but they leave the onus of enforcement on individuals, doing little to advance their economic empowerment.

Tracy-Lynn Humby, a professor at the School of Law at the University of the Witwatersrand (WITS), and author of Get Real: A discussion paper about whether a compliance-based approach to LGBTI economic empowerment can work in South Africa, has been inspired by the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) compliance-based programme to explore the feasibility of expanding this existing approach on the rights of racialized minorities in the workplace, to the rights of sexual and gender minorities. In this paper, Tracy-Lynn considers how an alternative empowerment framework – a “beyond compliance” approach – may be used to secure true equality in the workplace for LGBTI South Africans.

Click here download a copy of Get Real: A discussion paper about wether a compliance-based approach to LGBTI economic empowerment can work in South Africa, by Tracy-Lynn Humby.


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