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February 27, 2009

Party for a purpose: support Cape Town Gay Pride!

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Gay Pride Parade 2008, photo courtesy Brian Indrelunas

It was eight years ago that the gay community in Cape Town first donned their best drag outfits and gear and climbed aboard shimmering floats to glide down the streets of central Cape Town. Since those initial, sepia-hued days, the Gay Pride Festival has grown in popularity and now almost 20 000 people attend the 11-day event, on at the moment. 

According to Cape Town Pride Office Manager Evan Tsouroulis, the festival’s most popular event is the annual Pride Parade which attracts over 5000 participants and revelers. The parade, which has always been the crown jewel in the lineup of events, is also immensely popular due to its accessibility to the varied gay communities – living up to its mandate to unite the cultures of Cape Town. The 2009 parade starts at noon on February 28, from the Traffic Department grounds on Somerset Road in Green Point.

“The parade brings people from different parts of the city that can’t go to clubs and bars,” said Tsouroulis in an interview with Cape Town Tourism.

This year’s theme is “Pink Ubuntu” which Tsouroulis hopes will encourage the erosion of economic and racial barriers within the overall gay community. He refers to South Africa’s history of division and mentions that “gay people are as much a part of ubuntu as other South Africans”. 

It is for this reason that the parade traditionally goes through the centre of Cape Town. “By being more visible, the gay community becomes more acknowledged and accepted,” continued Tsouroulis.

Over R1-million has been raised for the festival’s official charity, The Pride Shelter. The Pride Shelter, although not yet up and running, plans to fill a very important role within the gay community. Gay and lesbian people are often subject to secondary abuse when they are forced to seek help from faith-based shelters. Tsouroulis says: “The idea is to open a shelter for the gay, lesbian and transgender community to have a sympathetic shelter.”

The Pride Shelter Foundation, with the help of the Cape Town City Council, is currently looking for suitable premises and hopes the shelter will be up and running later this year.

If you would like to get involved or want to find out what events are happening at this year’s festival, read our Gay Pride events post, log on to the Cape Town Pride website or you can email info@capetownpride.co.za for more info.

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