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LGBTI community gathers in CT to share their challenges

They say it's important to raise awareness around issues facing LGBTI people ahead of Youth Day.

Picture: Stock.xchng.

CAPE TOWN - Members of the LGBTI community have gathered in Cape Town today to share their stories around the challenges facing lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex young people.

The Children's Radio Foundation has partnered with the United States Consulate American Corner to launch an exhibition featuring stories and portraits of these young people.

The group says it's important to raise awareness around issues facing young LGBTI people ahead of Youth Day tomorrow.

Thirty-year-old Velisa Jara from Site B in Khayelitsha says she came out as a lesbian at the age of 11.

She says over the years, she's been attacked several times near her home as hate crimes against the LGBTI community are rife, especially in townships.

During the most recent attack last month, Jara was held at gunpoint by a group of men who accused her of practicing satanism.

"I have experienced a lot of hate crime because I'm a lesbian. I have been robbed three times, twice at gunpoint and once with a knife."

Jara adds as South Africans commemorate Youth Day tomorrow she encourages youth in the LGBTI community to love and accept themselves for who they are.