Andreas, in his own words:“Being gay means having the opportunity to be more accepting of others.
Continuous challenge is learning to accept myself, to trust in the process called life. One of my greatest successes has been finishing a masters while recovering from a barrage of illnesses I picked up whilst traveling in India.
Coming out was gradual – took about 5 years, starting with accepting myself to telling my father. Some of my extended family members still don’t know about my sexuality, maybe that will change now. I’m lucky in that all the responses were positive – everyone was supportive and accepting (although most didn’t see it coming!).
The Cape Town gay community, much like the rest of South Africa is socially and geographically divided. I only know middle class gay men who live in suburbs; we share very similar stories. I wish it would be easier to meet more gay men from different backgrounds.
I would tell my younger self to keep away from trying to do things right.”
Siya, in his own words:“Being gay to me means life, future and lots of successes as any human creature could ever imagine and above all I think I’m privileged to be a gay man in South Africa, especially coming from a township where there’s so much stigma imposed on homosexual people.
(With regards to challenges) Not much but the issue of being homo-prejudiced has played a huge role for quite some time and also being negatively labeled in your own community, but I guess back than people were slow to adapt in all this, as we black people put culture and traditions as paramount in terms of our customs as far as they are concern.
My coming out story was never much of an issue, my mother was not actually happy with it but in no time she eventually adapted to it too and my father was the most supportive and the siblings were not surprise because they claimed the fact that they had recognised me at an early age (as being gay).
Cape Town with no gays will be like Cape Town with no Sea, I guess gay men play a huge role and also since the world evolves I believe they play a huge role as part of that mechanism, and for me that’s a learning curve and people around the city are mostly the nicest ever, also tourist from other countries do like to associate themselves with people like myself.
(Advice I’d give my younger self) go to school and study hard, whether you gay or bisexual nothing can stop you from reaching your GOAL.”
Xolani, in his own words:“I’m Xolani Mvula, born in the peri rural area of the wine lands in Capetown. I was born 1980 and had very little knowledge about my own sexuality. Time had come and passed and I did not see any one who was like me, that bored me sometimes and I even questioned myself asking if this was for real. In time I saw that I’m not the only one even though the others did not understand what was happening with them. With very little knowledge we continued about being gay and the life continued. Through times I realized that being gay is beautiful and gorgeous.
I had the most caring family that any gay person could ask for and in my time I obtained my qualification as a bookkeeper but that never stopped me from being gay. Today I spent my life working at the foundation as a community outreach worker. This enhanced my level of opportunity of engaging with people and sharing my own knowledge.
I came out of the closet when I was very young nevertheless did I know at that time I was coming out. There was guy who used to like taking me out and one day he proposed and I fell for him. So he kept on taking me out for almost a year up until the day when he asked me to sleep over. No one at home was aware and I just passed my grade 12. I decided to sleep over, and in the morning the drama started.
Being gay in Capetown is the most humble province ever, where the LGBT group is being tolerated.
(Advice I’d give to my younger self) The most valuable information is knowing your rights and do not allow anyone to take that for granted. Be informed and be educated because it is the best possible weapon that you could have.”