Tutu honoured for fighting for LGBTI+rights
Archbishop Desmond Tutu has supported lesbian and gay rights for years. So it is entirely fitting that the 88-year-old Nobel Peace Laureate and campaigner for social justice has just received a Lifetime Achievement Award for services to the LGBTI+ community.
It was given by Outreach Africa, the organisers of Cape Town Pride 2020, and accepted last week on Tutu’s behalf on by the Western Cape premier Alan Winde.
“The archbishop sends his love and blessings to all associated with Cape Town Pride 2020,” said Winde. “He said I should thank you for honouring ‘a decrepit’, and apologise for his being unable to be with you in person today.”
In a statement that followed, the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation said: “The archbishop doesn’t just abhor prejudice, philosophically; he dedicated his life to practically supporting those who are discriminated against, victimised and/or marginalised. He has the courage to say things in ways that others might not. There are no holy grails. Thus, with crystal clarity, we know that he would not worship a homophobic God, and that if there is homophobia in heaven he’d rather go to hell.”
The Archbishop originally made that headline grabbing ‘hell rather than homophobia’ statement back in 2013 and his record for defending gay and lesbian rights dates right back to the 1970s. Indeed it can be seen as an integral part of his fight for civil rights alongside the battle to end apartheid.
In fact soon after apartheid ended, he wrote “If the church, after the victory over apartheid, is looking for a worthy moral crusade, then this is it: the fight against homophobia and heterosexism.”
Tutu has also described homophobia in the church resulting in some lesbian and gay people doubting whether they are truly children of God as ‘the ultimate blasphemy’.