Call to make Gay Pride Parade more inclusive

The Bike Pride parade was part of the Pride Parade in Green Point at the weekend.

Thousands of people took part in the Cape Town Gay Pride Parade in Green Point on Saturday.

The theme for this year’s festival was “I am what I am”.

However, there were groups who felt that the festival still wasn’t inclusive enough.

Andrew Howard, who took part in the march on Saturday as part of the Pride Shelter organisation, said the event had been a success with greater diversity than the previous year. Nevertheless, he felt more could be done to make the event more inclusive.

“I think it is important to take part in events like these. It is important to be visible and raise awareness about what you do as an organisation. It is also good to engage with people.”

Mr Howard is a board member at the Pride Shelter, in Oranjezicht, which has been a crisis centre for the LGBTQI community since it opened in 2011.

Mr Howard said that with the rise of extreme right-wing governments in America and Europe, people should never be complacent about their rights.

“There might be someone one day who will want to take away your freedom. Also, just because it doesn’t affect you personally doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. There are LGBTQI communities living in dangerous situations in other African countries. There is always more that can be done.”

Mr Howard said the event could do more to draw people from poorer communities. He criticised the R50 fee for the after party, saying it was too expensive for some people.

Lindy-Lee Prince, a UCT student based in Mowbray, agreed that the after-party fee excluded a lot of people.

“There are people who complain every year but nothing changes,” she said.

She felt the whole community needed to work together to organise the festival.

Funeka Soldaat, who runs the FreeGender organisation in Khayelitsha, said they had written to the mayor about their issues with the festival but had not heard back.

“They will never change. It is fine to march but it has to have a message,” said Ms Soldaat.

The Atlantic Sun sent emailed questions to the Cape Town Gay Pride organisers but they had not responded by the time of going to print.