Lack of Inclusivity at Gay Pride

Cape Town’s Gay Pride parade hit the streets of Green Point on Saturday afternoon, much to the delight of unaware passers-by and tourists. However, the festivities were marred as a result of various organisations and students who criticised the event for lacking inclusivity and diversity.

“Gay Pride is exclusive. How are underprivileged students going to pay R50 to attend these events? Gay Pride does not cater for the underprivileged,” said interim vice-chairperson of Stellenbosch University’s Lesbigay society, Lonwabo Nkonzo.

Lesbigay provided shuttles from Stellenbosch to Cape Town for members who were interested in attending the event.

Beata America and her partner Shelley Pryde, both students at Stellenbosch University and members of Lesbigay, attended the events. America said, “not everyone can afford to come to pride. I have a friend who recently came out and she can’t attend Pride because she doesn’t have money.”

Dameane Wagernaar, a member of the Pink Umbrella support group for LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual and Intersex) farm workers in Stellenbosch said: “fortunately Pink Umbrella gives members R130 to attend the event. But when the entrance fee and the beverages are so expensive, R130 doesn’t mean anything.”

Lukhanyo Mvimbi, a member from the University of Western Cape’s Loud Enuf LGBTI society in connection with the Gender Equity Unit, is of the opinion that Pride is not inclusive of black queer bodies. He suggested that the parade be in the townships where homophobia is rife. “I want them to see how beautiful and proud we are,” said Mvimbi.

Other Non-Profit organisations that  participated in the parade were great supporters of the event. A representative of Sex Worker Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT), Angeline De Bruin said, “we are at Pride because we support LGBTI rights. Sex workers are of all races and different sexualities. Pride is not exclusionist because everyone is invited.” She did, however, comment that the Pride organisation committee was in desperate need of more diversity.

SWEAT provides counselling, comprehensive services in HIV and, addresses the health and fundamental human rights of sex workers including transgender sex workers in the Cape Town Metropolitan district. The organisation handed out packages, which included male and female condoms, to the public.

Organiser of Cape Town Pride, Matthew van As, told the Cape Times: “Cape Town Pride’s Committee is a mix of all races: white, black, Indian, coloured and Asian are all involved in the planning and executing of events in the Pride week.” – Christina Pitt

Celebrations at Gay Pride. PHOTOGRAPH: CHRISTINA PITT