The DA Metro LGBTQIA+ Committee rejects the illegal occupation of a Camps Bay Airbnb establishment by a group identifying as "Queer" and "vulnerable".
It is disingenuous that the group has chosen to put their interests above those of the thousands of workers employed in the Airbnb industry. It is surely foreseeable that homeowners will no longer offer their houses to-let as Airbnb tourist venues, if this can result in illegal occupation. By this single, attention-seeking action this group could destroy an entire industry and lead to massive job losses at a time when unemployment is nearing 40%.
Their action also, ironically, increases their vulnerability to public criticism and censure, and will predictably increase homophobia and queer vulnerability. This illegal occupation must be called out for what it is: ill-placed opportunism under the guise of social justice activism.
There are multiple avenues available for vulnerable queer Capetonians, not the least of which is the Pride Shelter, which operates from a DA run City of Cape Town property in Oranjezicht, but also with DA-run City of Cape Town Grant-In-Aid funding.
The concerns and fears of many in the LGBTQI community are real, and need a constant spotlight of awareness in tackling the present dangers and hostilities faced by the queer groupings.
Illegally occupying a property, causing untold uncertainty and damages to an industry brought to its knees in a Covid 19 world, and instigating the widespread disapproval, is reckless, self-indulgent, and counter productive.
It is also worth noting that the substantial deposit required to be paid to secure the accomodation is no small fee, and begs the question how that was deemed payable and why resources could not be allocated for a flat share by this particular group?
I strongly urge those occupying the establishment, if they are feeling vulnerable, to consider contacting the Pride Shelter or making contact with us as the DA's LGBTQI champions in order to find a way forward that achieves their goals, without damaging public feelings and industry stability.
The Pride Shelter is contactable on (021) 423-2871 and is located at 1 Molteno Road, Oranjezicht.
There is always a legal, peaceful and proactive way to surmount real challenges without resorting to illegal and unjustifiable actions which are irresponsible, unrealistic, selfish and alienate our own current and prospective allies in the quest for an inclusive society, respectful of queer rights.