UNITY FOR ALL LGBTI COMMUNITY IN THE PROVINCE THROUGH DEMOCRATIC PROCESSES.

Cape Town: Free Gender is black lesbian organization based in Khayelitsha. Our focus is to deal with homophobia and hate crimes in our townships. In 2014 Free Gender suspended its participation in Cape Town Pride because it continues to exclude lesbians and black LGBTI in decision making when planning for the Festival. When we attended or participated in the events, it was through invitation by a few white gay men who are gatekeepers in Cape Town Pride. We have repeatedly noted the exclusionary practices of those who organize Cape Town Pride. This is a problem with a long history. In 2015, Free Gender joined all the LGBTI organizations under the umbrella of Alternative Inclusive Pride to picket within pride to express our unhappiness about the exclusion of marginalized LGBTI individuals within CPTP.
In 2016 the CPTP suggested a “Colourblind” theme, which was condemned by diverse stakeholders in the LGBTI community. As a result of consistent pressure from the Alternative Inclusive Pride Network, the theme was changed, but this is not enough to ensure that Cape Town Pride is a space where all of Cape Town’s LGBTI community is welcome and included. We continue to demand the end of the arrogance of exclusionary white gay men within CPTP and also urgently request an AGM, in the spirit of transparency and accountability, in order to plan the way forward for the CPTP. This is the only way to ensure democratic processes are followed so that all of Cape Town’s LGBTI community can contribute to the planning and implementation of a Pride that is conducted in our name.
We are also disappointed by the Mayor of Cape Town who has not responded to the letter sent by the Alternative Inclusive Pride Network on the issue. It is unfortunate if the Mayor has already taken sides on the matter. We invite all activists, organizations who fight for unity in Cape Town on the basis of race, gender, class, and sexuality to join under the banner of Alternative Inclusive Pride Network on the 27th February 2016. Nothing about us without us!!

Funeka Soldaat (Coordinator) 0763210276

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Khumbulani LGBTI Pride Parade

IMG_79513386250739IMG_21792626706230IMG_21746164940150 Khumbulani LGBTI Pride Parade.
The event was held to remember the LGBTI individuals who were brutally killed because of their sexual Orientation or sexual identity and those who survived. It was also to show community that LGBTI community exist and are visible back and white and in the City or townships.
The Parade happened through the streets of Khayelitsha Township, from Olver Tambo hall to Buyelembo Village in Mandela Park Village. The Parade was very successful organized by all the LGBTI organizations, LGBTI community and their partners. We also thank the presentation and feedback by the Department ofJustice on the progress of the work of National task team on violence against LGBTI and also feeback by the oversight committee on the status of Cape Town Gay Pride
The Cape Town Pride and its partners tried by all means to divide the LGBTI community by having a parallel event the same day, time and in the same township. The attitude of divide and rule by Cape Town Pride failed dismal because the LGBTI community organize and unite themselves under one roof with one voice.
Free Gender will always support any initiatives that create to end racism, class and Gender inequality in our spaces.

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Thanks for making Alternative Inclusive Pride count!

3 March 2015

Preceded by endless attempts to engage with the organisers of Cape Town Pride, the wider lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgedender, intersex, asexual and queer (LGBTIAQ) community took action against Cape Town Pride’s exclusionary policy. Under the slogan, KWANELE! (ENOUGH) on the 28th of February 2015 Cape Town saw a collective of activists, organisations and individuals marching in solidarity and calling out for an inclusive Cape Town Pride which acknowledges the multiple struggles of ALL within the LGBTIAQ community. Through individual efforts people stood up for justice and truth and voiced their dissatisfaction with Cape Town Pride in its current form.

We marched to the beating drum, the sound of whistles and with our feet stomping in unison, we said KWANELE! Kwanele with exclusion, marginalisation, violence and hate crimes against our black, gender non-conforming bodies. We said KWANELE! with exclusion on the basis of our social and economic backgrounds. We said KWANELE! with the depoliticisation of Pride and blatant disregard for the challenges faced by LGBTIAQ people.Taking heed from the first Joburg Pride in Hillbrow and the Stonewall Riots in New York, collectively unfraid to speak and point out injustice and to fight against it, we marched because we believed in the inherent right of all human beings to have an equal opportunity to celebrate their life and freedom without the threat of violence in all its forms.

It is important we acknowledge the organisations that stood in solidarity with us: Triangle Project, Inner Circle, IAM and Freegender. New Foundation, Cape Town Rollergirls and Gender DynamiX too affirmed the need for a Pride which acknowledges the equal dignity and legitimacy of the struggles of ALL oppressed persons excluded by Cape Town Pride. We also acknowledge the individual efforts of persons who headed the call and brought their personal resources and made individual efforts to support the Alternative Pride Spaces calendar.

The goal of the Pride Protest was to draw attention to and call for an opening up of Pride. Our community has spoken and, as Shamiel Visagie eloquently expresses the sentiments behind the Pride Protest, we must “activate activism, voices must be loud enough to make a change. The choice must be given to all, the welcome must be extended and all must be included. Our community had spoken and this is what an inclusive Pride means.” Nicol Rudin added that “Inclusive Pride is a space where everyone (not only rich, gay, white men) have a space and can be heard. We are tired of being the “unsightly” poor black Queers standing next to white men wiggling their gold spandex covered bums while lesbians are still being murdered and accosted daily. Pride has always been a political movement; none of us are free until we are all free.”

Finally it is Lucinda van der Merwe who best articulates the overall project of the Alternative Pride Protest, an inclusive Pride means “a space to engage regardless of class and race. Working class issues should be a central part in the agenda. The activities must cater to the needs of everyone and not just a [few]. Pride should recognise the huge inequalities and racism and that Pride is political. Celebrations, political conversations, education and awareness can happen. Pride must recognise that awareness needs to be raised around many issues including transgender, sex worker, disability, asylum seeker and refugee issues. This is the inclusive pride, not gala events and gaypitalism. The pink rand is not going back to the communities; we need accountability around the financial workings of Pride. We must dismantle the privilege and racism.”

A collective community voice made this year’s Protest actions and events possible. We thank you for your solidarity and for taking bold risks and making your voice heard. These efforts and the energy must continue until all of us are indeed included, recognised and free. Pride must come back to the people, Pride must be for the people. KWANELE! with exclusion and marginalisation!

Amandla!

Matla!

KWANELE!

#‎InclusiveP

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Cape Town Gay Pride belongs to all LGBTI community

Remembering our commitment to the creation of inclusive spaces which speak to the lived realities of black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons in South Africa. Remembering Zoliswa Nkonyana, Remembering Eudy Simelane, Remembering Duduzile Zozo, Remembering Noxolo Nogwaza , Remembering Sizakele Sigasa. Free Gender has made the decision to continue to suspend its support for the upcoming Cape Town Pride 2015. Remembering that BLACK LGBTI LIVES MATTER!
The events currently tabled for the upcoming Cape Town Pride are exclusionary and do not represent the black lesbian, gay, bisexual, intersex and transgender community. Free Gender with other persons in their personal capacities has attempted to negotiate with the current planners of Cape Town Pride for the creation of an inclusive space which recognizes and speaks to the struggles of ALL LGBTIQ persons in South Africa. However the current organizers have responded with blatant racism and bigotry.
In pursuance of inclusive spaces representative of all LGBTI persons in South Africa Free Gender, in 2014, suspended participation in Cape Town Pride activities because of the exclusion of the black LGBTI community in decision-making and organizing of the events. We also contested the inclusion of Khumbulani Pride on the website of Cape Town Pride as this was a form of cooption of a project which was never theirs. As an organization we availed ourselves and participated in the Cape Town Pride Annual General meeting where a new committee would be elected at the June 2014 AGM – this never happened!
No explanation was given by the Cape Town Pride committee. Free Gender made follow up efforts with the Committee by inviting a facilitator to assist with the process. There was no Cape Town Pride board and it was made clear that a few individuals were in control of the organizing and decision-making with regards to the planning of Pride.
Further, the work of the facilitator was undermined by few individuals, all white men, who believed that only they were capable of leading the Cape Town Pride process. This year’s programme was finalized by these individuals who made it clear to Free Gender that there was nothing wrong with their racism and that they endorsed a segregated Pride.
We call on all LGBTI individuals to remember that the Constitutional imperatives of this country are based on the values of equality, dignity and respect of and celebration of diversity. This means that the LGBTI community as well is called upon to recognize and make visible the struggles of the black LGBTI community. It must be noted that the history of the LGBTI movement is grounded in the tireless work of LGBTI activists such as Simon Nkoli, Bev Ditsie, Phumi Mtetwa, Sheila Bassey, Zackie Achmat, Derrick Fine, and multiple others. For Cape Town Pride to hold events in the name of celebrating the freedoms acquired through the personal and political sacrifices of these LGBTI fighters is appalling and should not be supported.

It is time that the Cape Town Pride organizers are made aware that black lives matter! We support the efforts made to create alternative spaces representative of black LGBTI realities and encourage our members to attend these in full support!

Funeka Soldaat (0763210276)

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Free Gender Awards

On the 7th February 2015 was our main event to celebrate our 5year of existence. The event started very low as members were very emotional after the death our member and the personal friend to the members and the organization. We were joined by different organizations, groups and friends in our event. The minute of silent was observed for the death of Mikki Van Zyl, Zukiswa Handuna and some comrades who were killed and those who survived hate crimes. The back ground to the event was done by Aphiwe Mikana and the video clips were shown by Siya Mcuta. There were also different Awards for Free Gender members and supporters that were prepared:

Award Ceremony- Categories
1. Lifetime Achiever Awards (Funeka Soldaat)
2. Best Achiever of the year( Aphiwe Mikana)
3. Long Serving Members ( Zandile Tose, Pearl Gebengana, Nozuko Ndlwana, Phumeza Nkoanyane)
4. Most promising activist of the year (Noxolo Nqwenani)
5. Best supporters (not members of FG) Mikki Van Zyl, Cheryl Roberts, Derrick Fine, Zanele Muholi and Zethu Matebeni and Paula Assabuji. They used their own time and resources to make sure Free Gender succeed.
6. Best attendance( Velisa Jara)
7. Best participant.( Siyafuna Mcuta)
It was sad to talk about Mikki Van Zyl Award and what was shared about her preparing to come to the event, the cultural t-shirt and the gift she prepared for Funeka Soldaat for the award. We were entertained by different local artist, music, dance and poetry.
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