Tutu urges SA to embrace homosexuals

The UN launched its global Free and Equal campaign in Cape Town on Friday.

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu addresses an audience at the opening of Cape Town's Nelson Mandela Legacy Exhibition on 30 June 2013. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu on Friday sent a stern warning to his religious counterparts to support gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

The United Nations (UN) launched its global Free and Equal Campaign in Cape Town earlier. The campaign aims to raise awareness of homophobic violence and discrimination.

Tutu called on religious leaders and civil society to embrace people with different sexual preferences.

In a passionate address, Tutu said people would never be truly free until gays, lesbians, bisexuals are allowed to be who God made them to be.

"The Anglican Church in Southern Africa has tendered to be more open but even here it's very tough."

The year-long project will be led by Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay, who says she will be working at changing the mindsets of leaders in countries where gay rights are still not recognised.

Meanwhile, lesbians live in fear in South African townships as they are often victims of corrective rape.

Earlier in July, a 26-year-old lesbian, Duduzile Zozo, was raped and murdered in Thokoza.

She was found with a toilet brush lodged in her vagina.