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Transgender pageant winner murdered in South Africa

A South African who had won a Miss Gay pageant was found in his rented room with his throat slit, news24 reported

Thapelo Makutle, 23, had argued late Friday night with two men about his sexuality, his friend, Shaine Griqua told mambaonline.com. Those two men followed him home, broke down his door and killed him, Griqua said.

Makutle, known as Queen Bling, was active in the LGBT community in the Kuruman region, a rural area in the north, Griqua told mambaonline.com. He said his friend identified as gay and recently started calling himself transgender.

"It's so sad. I can't describe the pain that we are feeling right now," Griqua told mambaonline. "We have lost a young, talented, gay man who was open about who he was. The last few days have been like a dark cloud."

Griqua, the director of Legbo Northern Cape, a nonprofit that provides sexual health education, released a statement saying that witnesses had seen Thapelo’s body, and that his genitalia had been “severed and inserted into his mouth.”

There was no sign of burglary, Griqua said, according to globalpost.com.

Police have not arrested anyone in the case, according to media reports.

South Africa has long been lauded for its liberal positions on gay rights. The country was the first to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation in its constitution, and same-sex marriage became legal in 2006.

But a Human Rights Watch report from 2011 found that black lesbians and transgender men in rural areas of South Africa face “extensive discrimination and violence in their daily lives, both from private individuals and government officials.”

Nearly all 120 people interviewed by Human Rights Watch said they lived in fear of sexual assault and that they were reluctant to approach police for protection.

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