Oh what a drag!, Big Issue Namibia

Date: January 1, 1970
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A gay beauty pageant in Windhoek shows that homophobia doesn?t rule across Namibia, and acceptance of people?s differences exists.

This article may be used to:
  • Explore the coverage of homosexuality in the media.

Trainer’s notes

This feature story is written using an interview with the winner of a beauty contest as its main focus. The writer allows the story to unfold through the words and experiences of a 22 year old gay man. The young man speaks candidly of his life as a homosexual in a conservative environment where the government does not allow him to live his life freely.
The story is based on an event but the writer uses the event to as a departure point and proceeds to provide an analysis and context to the issue of homosexuality in . Some of the issues raised are:
  • The right to freedom of choice and expression.
  • Government’s conservative, oppressive attitude towards homosexuality.
  • The attitude of the community towards the pageant.
  • The personal testimony of a young man in which he speaks about the challenges he faces.
One of the strengths of this particular article is that it is written in simple accessible language and the story is told primarily by the person who is living the experience not the journalist.
The story is packaged in a gender sensitive way. The headline, pictures and story work together. None of the elements in the story leads to the ridicule or jest. The story is framed within a context of a human rights and freedom.
Training Exercises
Exercise one: Discuss the following in a group:
  1. What is the government policy on homosexuality in your country?
  2. Do you believe these policies are oppressive or progressive?
  3. What are some of the factors that impact on the government policy and society’s views on homosexuality?
  4. Are there any similarities between these factors and those that used to support the view that women are not equal to men in society?
Exercise two: Read the case study and consider the following questions:
  1. Identify the elements in the story that make it a gender aware story?
  2. How is the coverage of homosexuality in this story compare to other stories you have seen on homosexuality? Explain by referring to sources, language, perspective, stereotypes.

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