Conflicting reports have emerged about a transgender and gay man allegedly beheaded after a homophobic and transphobic attack in South Africa.
Some reports say the 23-year-old was completely beheaded in the attack in Kuruman, Northern Cape whilst others suggest he had his throat slit but the head was not severed from the body.
A Gay Star News investigation has revealed that several of the media reports use the Facebook of Shaine Griqua, director of the LEGBO Northern Cape, as their sole source.
According to Griqua, Thapelo Makutle was attacked and murdered on Friday (8 June) by two men for his sexuality and being transgender.
He claims that, following a verbal argument, the two men apparently followed him to the room he was renting, slit his throat and beheaded him.
They then covered his body under a blanket as if he was sleeping. A female friend found him on Sunday morning (10 June).
But others say the information about the attack on Makutle is misleading.
These sources say he was not beheaded but was still killed by having his throat severely slit, with a deep cut severing a part of his head, but the head is still attached to the body.
These sources describe some of the reporting on the case so far as ‘sensationalist’ including in the LGBT-friendly news media.
Makutle, who identified as both gay and transgender, was a volunteer for gay group LEGBO.
Based in Northern Cape, LEGBO provides support and health training for rural LGBT communities confronted with stigmatization and victimization.
It’s also believed he recently participated in the Kimberley Out In Africa Gay and Lesbian Festival. He was a drag queen known as Queen Bling and was recently crowned Miss Gay Kuruman.
Shaine Griqua wrote on his Facebook page that Makutle was a ‘well mannered and principled human being.
‘We are deeply hurt and saddened and pained by this… Just three weeks ago a lesbian was stabbed… at a night club.’
He also noted that no arrests have been made in connection with the murder and expressed his concern about the increase of hate crimes in the province.
Griqua wrote on his Facebook page that LEGBO Northern Cape and other groups will meet tomorrow (13 June) to organize a march against hate crimes and raise awareness and regarding the horrific murder of Makutle.
LGBT activist Junior Mayema from People Against Suffering Oppression and Poverty, a non-governmental organization based in Cape Town, told Gay Star News: ‘Hate crime is widespread in the townships and beyond. It is inflamed by religious groups and ignorance about South Africa’s constitution.
‘In addition the police have little or no traning on hate crime which leads to many cases being either not investigated or ignored.’