Thursday, May 29, 2014

Racial Divides in Cape Town's Gay Community

I definitely had an expectation about Cape Town's gay community.  I assumed it would be racially diverse and welcoming.  I mean, the country legalized gay marriage 10 years ago.  Furthermore, Cape Town is considered highly progressive, ethnically diverse, and has one of the most vibrant gay communities in the world.  However, after a few nights exploring various gay bars and restaurants, it is evident that the institutional legacies of apartheid still exist.  The bars here are informally "white" or "black/coloured" with very little mixing between the two.  It was particularly striking to walk into Cafe Manhattan to witness a sea of white faces.  It was similarly off-putting to walk into Zero to One and be the only white face in the establishment.  It's interesting, and a little sad, to see this kind of racial divide exist in an already marginalized community where, one would think, solidarity would trump and kind of racial division.

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