The Pride Shelter Trust
The Pride Shelter Trust was launched in February 2006. At the time, there were many well funded health and social service organisations, but no crisis shelter type service particularly for LGBTI people. Thus, the Pride Shelter Trust was born to establish and manage a shelter offering short-term accommodation to LGBTI people from the greater Cape Town area during crisis periods in their lives.
The Pride Shelter Trust was also founded within the broader South African context vis-à-vis attitudes towards LGBTI individuals and issues. South Africa was one of the first countries in the world to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation. However, while the Constitution and laws in our country may be progressive, societal attitudes towards LGBTI people are often not. The Pride Shelter Trust was brought into being to help provide support to a community that receives so little from society as a whole.
After several years of fundraising and the acquisition of a City-owned property at 1 Molteno Road in Oranjezicht, the Pride Shelter opened on 5th April 2011. The furnishings were donated by the community including 22 beds, a television and furniture for the kitchen and residents' lounge. Since then, we have supported over 400 LGBTI individuals from the greater Cape Town area and beyond, including individuals who have been victims of 'corrective' rape and who have been kicked out of home for being gay. We are still the only such LGBTI shelter in South Africa, and Africa as a whole.
The Pride Shelter also supports LGBTI people from other African countries. Out of the 54 countries on the African continent, 38 have passed laws to make homosexuality illegal. In four of these countries the penalty can be death. President Mugabe of Zimbabwe and President Museveni of Uganda have famously made overtly anti-LGBTI statements.
The Pride Shelter aims to:
• provide residents with a friendly, safe and nurturing environment in which to stay while they start to recover and find their feet again.
• support residents by referring them to other services that they may need, including counselling, sexual health, mental health and immigration services.
• ensure that when residents eventually move on, they do so with a clear purpose and direction.