Pride in Africa Unpacked: Interview with Our CEO David Ryan

It's no secret that we're passionate about showing off our continent's most magical landscapes, wildlife, cultures, and experiences. But we're also all about driving social change and altering the perception around visiting Africa as an LGBTQ+ traveller. So, in celebration of Pride Month, we sat down with our very own CEO, the fabulous David Ryan, to unpack what Pride in Africa really means.

pride-month-2023_D6A5450.jpg Start spreading the news, we're Pride-ing away!

Like a Lion’s Pride, We’ve Got Each Other’s Backs

Our HQ is in Cape Town, South Africa, which is famous for being one of the most gay-friendly destinations not only in Africa but in the world. So, most of us also call this scenic southernmost tip of Africa home, including our CEO David.

“In South Africa in particular, to be part of the LGBTQ+ community means leading the way. As we know, our country has the most diverse constitution in terms of protecting minority rights. Therefore, our community in particular has a responsibility and commitment to forge the way for human rights in Africa,” he explains.

portrait-of-a-two-male-lions-nuzzling-adobestock234458950-1.jpeg In Africa, we’ve got all kinds of Pride

Changing Global Perceptions

Unfortunately, many other countries are yet to catch up to our gay-friendly city. We're proud to say that South Africa was the first country globally to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation and the fifth globally to legalise gay marriage. Therefore, it's certainly setting an example of what protecting human rights should look like. But many other regions in Africa are yet to catch up, but why is that?

"One of the problems is that the indoctrination of religion across the continent hasn't moved. Whereas governments in the Western world have moved away a bit from this, African countries haven't. Like when Uganda recently outlawed homosexuality, it does make us feel disappointed when the world moves in the wrong direction. It's not about being gay or straight. We've been around to witness social change on a global scale. The world's adopting Pride, and it's now seen more like a human right. I think that's why countries like Uganda will receive more of a backlash. It's not just LGBTQ+ rights – it's human rights. The world as a whole will come together to say it's unacceptable," David says.

Ellerman-House-Wedding-079.jpg David tying the knot this year at Ellerman House in Cape Town, Image Credit: Expressions Photo

Travelling as a Gay Man Through Africa

David has travelled more extensively than anyone we know! He's got an insatiable hunger for exploring our beautiful continent.

"I actually haven't had any negative experiences travelling as a gay man in Africa. That's partly because we're socially conscious and might adjust your behaviour so it's more acceptable in certain circumstances. So in African countries, you might not openly hold hands or show public displays of affection," he explains.

But, of course, it also helps that he knows the who's-who of the very top LGBTQ+-friendly destinations, accommodations, and logistical partners.

david-and-children-family-safari.jpg David on a family safari

"Africa's made up of thousands of diverse communities and cultures. You can only have a great time here. And if you plan your holiday with specialists like Out2Africa, they'll point out the nuances to you, so you won't be discriminated against. Also, because we build tailor-made itineraries, we largely keep you in a bubble," he says.

"All the suppliers we work with across the continent are all LGBTQ+ welcoming. We make sure properties and logistic operators are also LGBTQ+ welcoming. You're only going to have a great time and be in the hands of specialists. We won't put any guest in a situation where they feel uncomfortable or threatened, and that goes to the cross-culture guests that we service coming to Africa every year," he explains.

Unpacking Pride

We're all enjoying celebrating Pride Month! However, what does it really mean to the LGBTQ+ community?

"Pride Month, in many respects, is a celebration and reminder of the enormous social change that has happened over the last few decades. Therefore, it's a very important event to remind us of how minorities have been discriminated against in the past," says David.

"But it's also very relevant to take the fight for human rights to destinations where you can't have a Pride march. I think it's also been successful and foundational in social change across the globe, a movement that's all-encompassing. Not just LGBTQ+ but a collection of minorities are adopting it, as well as straights, as it's a reminder of human rights and what we fight for. Its purpose has changed over the decades. But it remains a time to reflect, celebrate the change we've seen, and continue to remind us of equal human rights across the globe," he adds.

David Viewpoint 2.jpg David has travelled far and wide across our continent

How to Ensure a Smooth-Sailing LGBTQ+ Holiday in Africa

Already fantasising about making your African dreams come true? You no longer have to be hesitant! With the right people planning your trip, you can focus on just having a blast.

"What makes Out2Africa quite unique is that we have specialists in the field of LGBTQ+ travel. Our Travel Experts are able to tailor-make and ensure our guests stay at only the most LGBTQ+-welcoming destinations. Plus, they have on-the-ground information about what has been and is changing. This gives you a sense of security so you can enjoy your trip, the cities and wildlife just like any guest can," explains David.

Well, then, what are you waiting for? Africa awaits your fabulous arrival! Contact our LGBTQ+ Travel Experts today, and let's start planning!


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