In a culture where corrective rapes exist and where homophobia is a way of life, being an out and proud member of the South African women’s national soccer team carries a negative, and sometimes fatal connotation.
According to a story by the BBC, Eudy Simelane, who was openly gay and the former star of the team paid the ultimate price for her lifestyle. Simelane was raped, tortured, stabbed and left in a ditch in 2008.
The host country for the 2010 Men’s World Cup, which is scheduled to begin on June 11, sees this type of violence on a large scale. In fact, it’s quite common to be threatened or physically beaten if you celebrate who you are.
Tumi Mkhuma, the star of the 2010 women’s team, is hoping to bring the world’s attention to the rampant violence against lesbians in her home country.
"We're all lesbians so I feel like I'm with my family. They always put a smile on my face. In township teams lesbians are not allowed," Tumi said while talking about her team mates. "I always worry. When I'm walking the streets I watch left and right. I'm not just a woman, I'm also lesbian, and there is no justice here."