Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Headlines: Pride, South Africa Style

Cape Town Pride
March 2005

After a decade of democracy and one of the world's most liberal constitutions, South Africa still cannot accommodate those who are both black and gay. A recent report by the BBC found that Cape Town's third pride march demonstrated how white-dominated the festivities were.

White gays have been accepted in the sexually-liberated town. Blacks say they are fighting a double-edged sword: tacit racism and discrimination and cultural taboos.

As a young black man I would need to be looking for a wife, making babies, and because I am not fulfilling those roles, society does not know how to deal with me. Africa Melane, Journalist

Melane says his family knows about his sexuality, but has never confronted him. Although the country has more freedom than ever, he says black African culture doesn't accept homosexuality. "You risk not being part of the community, not being part of the family, not being part of society."

Africa Melane notes two responses: many friends become introverted and go into denial, while some others go to the other extreme as transvestites or transsexuals. The recent march in Cape Town featured Miss Gay Pride's top three transvestites, and two were black or mixed race.

Meanwhile, many white gays are trying to build bridges. The recent festivities featured another first, a gay shebeen crawl. This was a trip around some of the more liberal small bars scattered across the black townships outside the city.

Taking Gay Pride to South Africa's Townships: BBC
Cape Town Pride 2005