General Overview

Cape Town Flies the Rainbow Flag

Cape Town Flies the Rainbow Flag. Image by Ludovic Bertron

South Africa used to be one of the toughest places to be in if you’re gay, lesbian, or bisexual. Today, with the influx of gay tourists to the city of Cape Town over the past few years, it is fast becoming known among the LGBT community as a safe haven and international gay destination. It has even been called the “gay paradise” by BBC News in spite of violent crimes against members of the LGBT community.

Hundreds of Africans are moving to Cape Town because of its liberal stance on homosexuality. Of course, it isn’t easy to pull up roots and leave your family because of intimidation and bullying. In some cases, it becomes imperative to leave because lives are at stake. In fact, there are many documented cases of family members openly lambasting any relative whether son, sibling, or cousin who admit to being gay. On the other hand, it might not be all that difficult to put up your Yzerfontein property for sale!

However, not all of Cape Town residents are supportive of gays. The regular job market balks at hiring gays although they do it without being rude or mean. This means that the job market is severely limited. In addition, there is a Great Divide between local gays with money and local gays without money. There is still a wide margin of discrimination between white gays and black African gays although generally speaking, there is an acceptable level of tolerance in Cape Town.

For those who are thinking of a visit, there is no reason to worry because Cape Town offers an abundance of events, establishments, and hotels where gays are welcomed with wide, open arms. Given Cape Town’s stunning scenery, be sure to bring along your Nikon CoolPix camera.

There is an estimated 225,000 gay tourists visiting Cape Town every year. Gay culture and hot issues like same sex marriage are fully supported under the country’s equal rights law in its constitution. The city aggressively pursues the gay market by hosting annual gay events especially since they see the gay tourists as having higher disposable income than regular tourists. Tourist activities include everything from paintball tournaments to get togethers to hikes up Table Mountain.

And the gays are coming in droves with about 15% of Cape Town’s 1.5 million visitors being gay. The gay hotels, restaurants, bars, and city beaches are bursting with men and women who fit in easily and feel comfortable being “out of the closet.”

However, there are areas in Cape Town, mostly residential districts that remain steadfast and traditional. Gays are not advised to go near these areas because of gay-related crimes including lesbian rape and violence. It’s easy to know where to go when in Cape Town because many gay establishments fly a rainbow flag as a welcome mat to gays.

Cape Town, though, is slowly becoming an expensive destination for the gay community; this is to say that, unlike a decade ago when gay-oriented tourism was more budget friendly, there has been a move towards providing facilities for those with expensive tastes. However since there are not many choices for the LGBT community in exotic travel destinations, Cape Town continues to appeal to the so-called “pink” dollar.