Cape Town – A number of organisations have come forward to criticise the organisers of Cape Town Gay Pride for its lack of diversity and inclusion.
Tension has been mounting over the years, over Pride’s exclusion of black people and in particular black lesbians. The seventh instalment of the Pride began on Friday.
Gender activist and founder of the Khayelitsha-based lesbian advocacy group Free Gender, Funeka Soldaat, said: “Cape Town Pride owners don’t believe that black people are capable of making positive input (into) Pride”.
Soldaat said the Pride lacks LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transexual and Intersexed) diversity and representation.
“They will never run the Pride in a democratic way… They just get someone and bus black people into the parade. The City of Cape Town is aware of the exclusion but they continue to support the Cape Town Pride.”
On March 4 Free Gender will have a picnic at Khayelitsha Wetlands Park. Muhsin Hendricks, of the Masjidul Umam, The Mosque of the People, associated with The Inner Circle, said they have several concerns with the running of Pride.
“Pride was very white male-oriented and (this is) very visible during the Pride march. This indicates that Pride was not inclusive enough of gay people of colour,” Hendricks said.
“Our organisation definitely believe in the inclusion of everyone including black homosexual women from the townships. Enough is not being done by Pride to show that efforts are being made towards inclusion of all colours. Pride after-parties are expensive to attend so gay people of colour, especially black gays and lesbians from townships, are not able to attend these after-parties due to cost and it remains white dominated.
“The Inner Circle, has been boycotting Pride for the past three years. We, together with other organisations such as Triangle Project, Inclusive and Affirming Ministries and others, have been requesting the Pride committee to relook at how Pride is organised.”
Rev Beulah Durrheim of Good Hope Metropolitan Community Church, a community including many LGBTI Christians, said one of the biggest concerns the church had with the running of Pride is finances, which is where they believe the exclusions stem from.
“The concern our church has is that the management of Cape Town Pride needs to be above board, meaning that they need to have an AGM where there is public information on finances – who’s donating and who’s benefiting and how the money is being distributed and who decides what events will take place during Pride week?
“There are different views on Pride’s purpose where some feel it is a political stage to make statements about human rights, and to others it is merely a festival to celebrate the LGBTI community.
“We find that there is space for both understandings and that both views are valid.
“Our voices need to be heard, our faces need to be seen, our diversity needs to be celebrated, our human rights need to be protected.”
Organiser of Cape Town Pride, Matthew van As said: “I feel that Cape Town Pride is inclusive and caters for all members of the community.
“From the community that turned out at Cape Town Pride 2016 you can blatantly see that it was a mix (of) race, religion, sex and gender with the majority of people being of colour.
“Cape Town Pride’s committee is a mix of all races: white, black, Indian, coloured and Asian and are all involved in the planning and executing of events in the Pride week.
“We feel that every year this issue is blown out of proportion by the same people.
“Pride is inclusive and shows the true diversity of our community.”