On 6 March 2017 the hate speech trial of Jon Qwelane commenced in the Johannesburg High Court. The trial concerns an article he wrote in 2008 titled, “Call me names, gay is not ok”. As amicus curiae (‘friend of the court’), PsySSA is leading evidence on the nature and extent of the material harm caused by homophobic hate speech and its impact on LGBTI people and society at large; and on the importance of the hate speech provision of the Equality Act to curb verbal and physical violence. On 8 March, Prof Juan Nel took the stand as an expert witness. The legal team leading the PsySSA case includes attorneys Kerry Williams and Tshego Phala, from Webber Wentzel, and advocates Kate Hofmeyr, Danie Smit, Carol Steinberg and Hasina Cassim. All legal support is provided on a pro bono basis. Within PsySSA, the case is spearheaded by Prof Juan Nel (Past President) and Prof Melanie Judge (an advisor to PsySSA and member of the sexuality and gender division). At the time of publication, the trial was still underway.
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