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While some feel Gay Pride flag was in bad taste, some think it should've flown for longer

By Afikile Lugunya - Jul 4, 2018
While some feel Gay Pride flag was in bad taste, some think it should've flown for longer

The raising of a Gay Pride flag - said to be one of the world's largest Pride flags, on the Donkin Hill, in the Port Elizabeth CBD, at the end of June has created debate among local residents.

The flag was raised by the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality to mark Pride Month, which is dedicated to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Transsexual, Intersex, Queer, Questioning, Two Spirited and Allies (LGBTTIQQ2SA) communities in the Bay and elsewhere.

However, the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP), a Christian-based political party that is part of the Democratic Alliance (DA) led coalition in the Bay, has voiced its concerns about the flag - going to the extent of calling homosexuality unBiblical.

Some residents, who spoke to RNEWS, also shared the same sentiments as the ACDP saying that they still find the LGBTI lifestyle unusual and insisting that the Bible says "God created Adam and Eve - not 'Adam and Steve'”.

It must be noted that it is not the first time that the Gay Pride flag has been raised at the Donkin.

RNEWS spoke to LGBTTIQQ2SA members in the Bay about their views now that the flag seems to have caused social and political controversy.

Some said that they were happy that finally they were being recognised by the City fathers as members of the community.

"The flag means 'progression'," one said.

Geodrey Arries, who is a proud LGBTTIQQ2SA member, described that the controversy the flag seems to have caused is because people always think that “being gay is a choice and unnatural”.

He added that being gay is always supposed to bring shame "because, to those people, being part of the LGBTIQ community is something one can't be proud of.

“The national flag is a country's pride and seeing it flying with the gay flag makes me feel proud that there are people in the world being allies to the LGBTIQ community.

“Accepting people different from you is an aspect that is nurtured because you aren't born hateful. We see it in kids. They just play with one another. They don't see black, white, nor do they see straight or lesbian, gay, bi, transgender, queer or intersex."

He added that if people were educated more about LGBTTIQQ2SA, then there would be a less problem with the flag “so that the next generation of straight people can be more of an ally to the LGBTIQ community instead of finding a problem with it. So, let our flag fly because there are so much more pressing issues the human race are facing why do you want to find problems where there really isn't. We here we queer lets help each other.”

Talking about creating awareness,  on the 30th of March, a documentary was screened at Dopparoz, in Kwazakhele, titled Rainbow Documentary.

Directed by Limakatso Mani, 28, the documentary focuses on the impacts of hate crimes especially those perpetrated against LGBTIQ+ communities.

Mani’s company, Kwaqhama, and the LGBTIQ+ community do not only focus on creating awareness about homosexuality, but also play a role in the community by donating sanitary towels to disadvantaged schools.

“The donation of pads will be made to Cowan High School. However, we are in the process of partnering with an NGO called Outology, they work with high schools to teach them about LGBT and what it means," said Mani.

“We are currently targeting one school per event, the documentary will be an annual event depending on the funds made by Kwaqhama during the year."

Commenting on the flag, she said: “I was not aware of the LGBTI flag until I saw it on social media. June was Pride Month, but the flag was hung for a week, to me that's ignorance and negligence.”

“The hate crime stats are shocking, more especially in the townships where most hate crimes occur, hence I created the documentary," she said.

“I shall continue raising the flag at events and create the kind of vibe that other cities have. Durban is leading when it comes to 'Durban pride'. People from various cities flock to see the event and that is great tourism. What is stopping PE?"