Cape Town anti-LGBTQ rainbow crossing protest flops

Cape Town's rainbow crossing

Stella Rose made a colourful statement on Cape Town’s rainbow crossing on Sunday (Photo: The Atlantic Sun)

The threatened homophobic vandalism of Cape Town’s rainbow crossing to protest LGBTQ+ inclusion turned out to be a damp squib.

Last week, Mehmet Vefa Dag, the president of the little-known Truth and Solidarity Movement Party, promised to paint the colourful pedestrian crossing black “to save our children’s future from these freak colors.”

The homophobic individual called on his supporters in the city to join him on Sunday at 13:00 to help him “remove LGBT colours from Cape Roads.”

He also posted a poll on Twitter asking if people agreed that the crossing should be painted black. Embarrassingly, 71% of the more than 8,800 people who voted said no, while 10% said they didn’t care.

On Sunday, Dag embarrassingly stood alone at the rainbow crossing on Somerset Road in Green Point, failing to attract any supporters to his cause.

Instead, several LGBTQ+ people, their allies, and members of the media gathered at the crossing. Drag queen Stella Rose made a statement by walking across the crossing in a flamboyant rainbow dress.

Speaking to eNCA, Dag remained defiant in his misguided cause. “It is destructive, it is creating division between communities, it is creating anger towards people; it is unfairness, it is double standards,” he said, oblivious to the irony of his words.

The rainbow crossing was unveiled last October by Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community and embrace diversity. Ward councillor Ian McMahon said that attempts to paint the cross would be illegal as it amounted to damaging public infrastructure.

Actor, activist, and social media personality Nicholas van Jaarsveldt was among the queer people who came to protect the rainbow crossing and stand up against Dag’s bigotry.

“So, he ended up showing up alone like a loser. The road is still gay and gorgeous,” van Jaarsveldt tweeted. Björn Luciano Salsone added: “Love always wins! So we rocked up in our Pride Colors, of course, and there was peace… Happy #Pride everyone!”

Dag, who plans to contest the 2024 presidential election, later claimed on Twitter that he had been threatened by members of the LGBTQ+ community. He also promised to take legal action to have the rainbow crossing removed, claiming it is unsafe.

Dag’s hateful crusade against the rainbow crossing is just one of many recent social media attacks against the LGBTQ+ community, sparked by the growing visibility of international Pride Month in South Africa.

Retailer Woolworths, for example, has become a victim of a right-wing backlash after it launched a campaign to show its support for LGBTQ+ diversity and inclusion.

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