City takes top five spot on gay-friendly list

Cape Town has been ranked among the world’s top five “surprisingly friendly” lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) travel destinations.

In a survey conducted by SCRUFF, one of the world’s top gay dating apps, with 10 million members worldwide, in conjunction with The New York Times, the Mother City was ranked fifth in its “off the beaten path” or “surprisingly gay-friendly” travel destinations.

The ranking also rated the Mother City positively in terms of safety relating to destinations with a history of anti-LGBT discrimination.

SCRUFF ran two separate surveys. The first survey ran from May 27 to June 10 and received responses from 3 603 men, in which it aimed to determine overall travel trends among gay men.

The second survey, in which it collaborated with The New York Times Travel Section, probed into more subjective questions, such as where do gay men like to travel and why. It ran between June 9 and 13 and received 1 333 responses.

Times reporter Steven McElroy surveyed members about their off-the-beaten-path travel destinations, as well as their impressions about safety in destinations. Results showed that gay men travel more often than the general population. It was revealed that when they do travel, they spend more and often travel alone.

Free Gender’s Funeka Soldaat said while the survey had showed that Cape Town was a “surprisingly gay-friendly” destination, the local LGBT community still faced discrimination in spaces outside the city centre.

“People who travel to Cape Town end up in the CBD. So they don’t really go to places or see places outside the city. It is a reality that for people outside the city, Cape Town is not a friendly city for gay and bisexual people. There are two separate communities, those in towns and those in townships.”

Cape Town tied in the fifth place along with Salt Lake City in Utah and Willemstead in Curacao.

Coming first was Puerto Vallarta in Mexico, which tied with Tel Aviv, and Ongonquit in Maine tied with Lisbon, Portugal, in second place. Rated in third place was Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, and Saugutuck in Michigan; and fourth was Beirut, Lebanon, tying with Budapest in Hungary.