Cape Town Pride fest ‘insensitive’

By BULELWA PAYI Time of article published Mar 4, 2018

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A planned protest at the Cape Town Pride festival was averted yesterday after organisers and members of a group of protesters decided to hold 15 minutes of silence in honour of two lesbians who were killed recently.

The protesters arrived at the event to demonstrate their dissatisfaction with a “lack of inclusivity” and diversity in the event.

The director of Outreach Africa which organises the Cape Town Pride festival, Tommy Patterson, confirmed the meeting that took place while the festival was under way.

“It seems that there was miscommunication but we invited them to join the festival and agreed to their request for 15-minutes of silence in honour of the lesbians who were victims of hate crime.

“It’s difficult to represent every member of the LGBT community. There are 26 NGOs that we work with. We are a gay community, irrespective of colour, age and we should all work as one,” he added.

But chairperson of Free Gender, Funeka Soldaat, said the choice of this year’s theme, Love Happens Here, was “insenstiive, disgusting and misleading” as the gay community was still reeling from the effects of hate crimes.

The 10-day event, which started on February 23 and ended yesterday, provides a platform for the LGBT+ community to raise awareness of issues pertaining to them and to campaign for the freedoms that will allow them to live their lives on an equal footing.

“In October last year we lost Okuhle Bixa, a lesbian who was shot dead in Delft, and in January this year another lesbian from Lwandle, in Strand, Noxolo Xakeka Klass was stabbed to death.

“They were killed because of hatred and where is this love that the Cape Town Pride is talking about? Do they mean love happens in those coffins?” Soldaat said.

She said the event was also taking place against the backlash which the initiation film Inxeba received from various quarters in South Africa and such issues needed to be taken into consideration.

Soldaat accused the organisers of “adopting” a theme from last year’s London Pride festival without taking into consideration South African context.

“We can’t glorify the Cape Town Pride. It should encompass everyone. The festival is an insult to us. We are still mourning the killing of the black lesbians.

“And recently Inxeba received a huge backlash because it showed two gay men kissing.

“So the event should have been used as a unifying one.

“Then Cape Town Pride will not only support animal shelters but also address hate crime incidents,” Soldaat said.

In 2014, Free Gender distanced itself from the festival because it was concerned that it was not inclusive and diverse enough.

“Their programme of events which form part of the festival is not representative of all issues faced by the LGBT community and should be informed by different organisations within the LGBT community,” Soldaat added.

She accused the event of being “hijacked” as a campaign to garner support for the Democratic Alliance.

The City of Cape Town denied that it had lent financial support to the event.

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