So what has been the highlights of the gay-est tour for me. The guy who put it all together?
Well there has been so many great moments, interactions, interviews, meetings and sights along this epic whirlwind of a tour. However there are two moments that stand out.
I’ll start chronologically:
- Sunday 31st Soweto Pride:
It was fulfilling to be a part of what ODIDIVA describes as a priveledge and a pilgrimage. Let’s be honest it is not a lot of fun and it is not intended to be. Soweto Pride is really a memorial act to those who have been slain and lost to homophobia. Dummies are carried around representing the lives lost and are a vivid reminder that Homophobia consistently adds to the tally of dummies year by year.
Our poor drag queens had to choose between hot tar or high heels for the 6km march and had blisters that required medical attention after the tour.
All this being said, it was a tremendously meaningful day. We marched at the back with Out Well-being with whom we’d visit later in the week and really were just pacing ourselves in the sun and heat.
When we reached Makuva street the march formed a circle and the dummies were layed out on the tar. Our Ga
y Flag group were then escourted and asked to join in the circle and lay our 6mx10m gay flag of SA next to the dummies.
It was such a humbling honor and as we had our moment of silence, it reconfirmed to me how much the Gay Flag of SA has come to mean to people.
- Meeting Edwin Cameron:
Yeeey, back in Pretoooria! Love this City. And I do love Joburg. Seriously, what is wrong with all you people telling me about how grey Joburg is?? It’s a frikkin jungle! There is trees everywhere! I am never gonna believe anyone again telling me things about cities and countries I haven’t seen. Crime as well. I suppose the only reason I haven’t been robbed last night walking through the streets all by myself with my camera and my tripod on my shoulder is that the robbers themselves have been shocked by my stupidity, or how I call it: confidence.
So Sunday we went to Pretoria to visit Out.org.za – an amazing institution helping the LGBTI community with HIV/ Aids and other diseases. It proved to me again- what we do makes sense! We can help the company to get exposure- they can help us, we can work together. That is what it is about. Working together and being a community. I learned a lot about this topic- and yes, you always think you know enough about safe sex and you are so educated about HIV and Aids- just go visit OUT- they will tell you a few new things for sure. I like seeing how new cooperations with the flag unfold and I like being involved in it. It makes me proud and happy.
Now, a lot of people think: duuude, it is 2012. People accept you Gays- move the fuck on. Well I can tell you- one of our crew members told us a story that sure proved that this is not the case. This is South Africa, and people are still uneducated and/or not accepting gay people. It happens, so don’t tell us to shut up and live a normal life like heterosexuals do. There is no way we will do that. As long as people get killed, screamed at, persecuted, stoned or even just looked at in a weird way for being what and who they are- there is no reason for us to stop. Accept us and deal with the fact that we are here. We are not asking for understanding. See, I was talking to the Queens today and I told them that I think it is quite similar to religion. I am an atheist. I don’t believe in God and I don’t believe in Church. I believe in myself, and I don’t understand how people can believe that stuff. I really don’t. But you know what? I accept it. I accept it cause people are educated that way and they are brought up that way. A believer to me is worth just as much as I am. I can be friends with a believer. I don’t care. If they pray, I won’t pray with them because I am no hypocrate, but I will share the silence and the moment with them. I won’t tell them to shut up. I won’t tell them they are stupid. I can be a quiet atheist. I am not seing people should be homophobic in silence, I am saying they should try and accept who we are and understand that they are not better just because we are different.
ACCEPT DIVERSITY! ACCEPT COLOURS!
Yeah, so on a personal note and on the videographer’s point of view: people are getting a little moody and bitchy here. It’s been over a week, intense for us sharing rooms, sharing a lot of our time in the bus et cetera. It is never easy to know when to capture or when not to capture these moments. Sometimes a camera can just not interefere. That’s why I am writing it down now. Haha. There we go. We are just human and we can be bitchy if we can’t get what we want and need, and the schedule is reeeally tight so there is a lot of pressure.
Speaking of bitchy, tonight we did Bitchy Bingo- an event the fabolous multitalented Lola Fine started in Cape Town a year ago. It is bingo- with no rules, a little bit more vulgar and with more… interesting prices. It was a fun evening with a lot of people ( also a lot of straight people, which was awesome) being there and partying with us. On that note- it doesn’t matter if you are straight- you can still support us! Seriously! JOBURG PRIDE and all our events and clubs and things we do aren’t only for the queer! Today Chantal from 7de Laan, the fabolous actress joined us. She is straight and she still gets involved. Just because I am not a school kid doesn’t mean I can’t help raise money. Just because I’m not gonna live in 100 years doesn’t mean I can’t plant a tree to grow big in that time. Get involved, heteros.
So back to Bitchy Bingo. I left early to eat and rest so I don’t know what exactly happened after I left, all I know is that there were two guys on the balcony next to me I definitely didn’t know and they definitely weren’t Lola or Genevieve. Well…
STAY POSTED! ___________ PHOTO HIRE __________
I LOVE JOZI!
I am telling you, we flagboys have a every intention of moving here.
The vibe, the electricity in the air. People clued up and buzzing!
The people are also really welcoming and funky. None of the Cape Townian did we go to same creche or does my daddy know your daddy, I went to Bishops nonsense.
We are hosted by the wonderful Ricus and Emil or as we call them “The Ratz Boys” and Johan Strauss in the swank Johannesburg Suites and also 12 Stars Luxury Lifestyle apartments.
Henry and I have our pooches Jacky and Chan here too, so we are crashing in the plush guest room of the very welcoming Ricus and Emil, where our dahlinks can roam and run free.
We were lazy in the 5 hr drive to Jozi. A pitstop had Genevieve give and Afrikaans Antie a piece of her mind when she told her she can’t use the ladies restroom. The others of us chilled, on the lawn sipping coffee.
Our first day was a bit mellow and then suddenly we were on the bus for our first nite out! Provocative nite club was on the itinerary and we were so ready for a party! Provocative is run by the owners of the previous Ramp Diva’s and lives up to the great sound, hot tall, lanky and hunky barmen and a bevvy of East Rand boys (and gay girls as our videographer happily discovered).
Our show was centered on a podium with a pole on which Adonis and Odidiva immediately started bumping and grinding.
Genevieve hooked us up with the owners and soon the show got on the road.
Odidiva did Riri’s “Where have you been all my life” and Adonis astonished the crowd with his snappy and lightning fast moves.
Lola just had a lovely patsy and mingled with the single guys.
All in all it was an amazing day and we loved having our drivers taking us home at 2PM. Getting ready for the next day where we went to Soweto Pride!
What a journey it has been.
We started our journey in Cape Town, first stop,head quarters of OutinAfrica , this is the base point for all the films festivals, that are held in JHB and Cpt, something that my boyfriend and I enjoy attending. Next then was the CapeTown Pride shelter house where they help some of the outcast of our community, that have nowhere else to go. With the day ending in a nice send off at Cafe Manhattan.
The next day was the long drive from Cape Town, to Bloemfontein. As you can imagine, these queens DO NOT STOP, nor do they sleep, or do they just take a 10 min pee brake when we stop somewhere. Every stop on route turned into a mini festival, as the stilettos and feathers came out, to the enjoyment of the locals. Many many photo’s later, we finally arrived up in Bloem. To the lovely, and interesting Emoya Lodge.
Our day in Bloem, was a day of mixed emotions. We kicked it of going to the university and showing our Pride there with some of the students, I must say, the welcome speech that was given buy the Dean, was a an amazing feeling, giving one hope for the future of the education system, as they embrace the diversity of students and promise to support them in who they are.
The next bit is not easy for me to write about, as something like this only hits you later on when you sit back and reflect about it.
After our high from the parade, and our interview on Ofm. We went to Mimosa Mall, something that should have been a 10 min brake. As its turned into a habit, everyone got off the bus and entered the mall. The queens where looking fabulous with heals and feathers, even Ivo had to bring his wings out for the occasion. To the delight of some of the people, as it is, people tend to take photos and poses are made. When one of the security personnel approached the lovely Lola Fine, and asked her if she has a permit to take photos in the mall. It was clear that something else was brooding, as this was more than a question about a “permit”. The thing is, would they have asked the same thing to someone like , Kurt Darren if he was walking in the mall and people started taking photos of him?
Needless to say, we didn’t take to that very nicely, things where said and everyone got involved and more security arrived, they even started closing the doors to the mall.
The things is, us as gay people deal with things like this on a daily bases, without even knowing about it. Some are luckier than others, and they have the “straight” look and they can act butch. But to some level, we suffer. And we deal with this, but why do we have to “deal” with it. Do people stare at a straight couple walking in a mall, holding hands? Or a lady, doing her shopping. But as gay people, we can’t always do that. If I had to walk somewhere, holding my boyfriends hand, we would get looks even a comment from someone as we walked past. And it hurts, every stare, every comment, builds up. Eventually you develop a thick skin about it, and learn to move on. But I do have my days that it gets too much, I call these days my “gay days” that day when I just want to sit and cry, wondering, why…why do I always have to justify to you for who I am, who I like and what I do. Those days where the comments get too much, and the looks burn into your heart. Where you get sick of the judgment from people that don’t even know you, yet they have made up their minds about you. Just based on 1 little aspect about you. I AM A GAY…
I AM A GAY…deal with it, I like guys, deal with it, it’s my life, it is what I like to do, and it actually has nothing to do with you!
But, I have my cry, and I stop feeling sorry for myself and I move on. You surround yourself with people that know you, and accept you for who you are and love you. Like my parents, coming out to them was not easy, but it’s the best thing I could do for our relationship. And my boyfriend Cobus, we love, respect and support each other, he is there for me and I am there for him. All my friends, my real friends, that have seen me at my worst…but still love me. And our awesome Bus drivers, the 2 straight guys, that wanted to go moer those security people! These people make it worthwhile for us.
At the end of the day. I am, what I am. I was born this way…and all those other wonderful songs that inspire us. God made me, he made me who I am and I wouldn’t want it any another way. So love yourself, whoever you are. And hug a gay when you next see one…be cool till next time yall.