The symbolic show of support for Cape Town Pride has been dubbed “disgraceful” by a religious group (Photo: Cape Town Pride/Facebook)
The Western Cape Provincial Parliament building has been lit up in rainbow colours to mark the Cape Town Pride celebrations, but the move has been slammed by some small-minded and bigoted religious groups.
“This is a government and province of tolerance and acceptance, which welcomes and celebrates diversity,” said Western Cape Premier Alan Winde about the lighting display.
“Our LGBTQIA+ community still faces challenges. By lighting up the Provincial Parliament we are visibly showing our support and our willingness to confront unacceptable and archaic prejudices and discrimination.”
He added: “We will always support and fight for equality for all our residents.”
Wentzel April, Cape Town Pride Festival Director, said the lighting of the provincial parliament building in the rainbow colours “symbolises the support, recognition and respect we need from the Western Cape Government”.
April believes that it “also serves as a reminder of those who have passed as a result of violence and hate crimes. May their light continue to shine in our hearts and memories.”
What should be a symbol of affirmation and celebration of the LGBTQIA+ community has been marred by two queerphobic organisations that have denounced the Western Cape Government’s actions.
The Muslim Judicial Council of South Africa (MJCSA) said in a statement that the provincial government should instead light up the building to highlight pressing challenges like “social ills, poverty, and crime”.
“The MJCSA believes that the Western Cape Government should prioritise significant matters over mere frivolity,” the group asserted. “Whilst the MJC(SA) condemns any violence or crime against any person, it strongly objects to the veneration of choices made by a very small minority group of people.”
“It’s a disgrace in the sight of God-loving people to see the WCG lighting up state buildings in support of such ‘occasions”
In a statement of its own, the Cape Town Ulama Board (CTUB) expressed its “displeasure” at the province’s attempts “to normalise and promote the LGBTQIA+ community”.
The board said that while it is also opposed to discrimination and violence against the LGBTQIA+ community, it feels that the attention being placed on this community is disproportionate.
“It’s a disgrace in the sight of God-loving people to see the WCG lighting up state buildings in support of such ‘occasions’ on one hand while turning a blind eye to other atrocities affecting humans locally and internationally, especially in this current times of disaster in countries like Syria and Turkey.
“We fear as a community that the [increasing] emphasis on this matter in the way it’s being forced down our throats is going to result in the behaviour being normalised and actually contradicting the kind of upbringing that we are trying to give our children at home,” said CTUB secretary general Sayed Ridhwaan.
This is the third attack against Cape Town’s LGBTQIA+ community by religious-based groups in the past few days. Last week, Pagad national coordinator Haroon Orrie characterised the LGBTQIA+ community as no better than thieves or those who commit incest and said that queer people should be punished by God with death.
The 2023 Cape Town Pride Festival kicked off on 9 February and will continue to host a series of events, such as movie screenings, workshops, and a cruise, leading up the parade in Green Point’s de Waterkant district on 4 March. More details can be found here.