The OneNightOnly Guide to Finding Your Place in the South African LGBTQ+ Community This Pride Month

Can you believe that it wasn’t until 1999 that the queer community were officially acknowledged and celebrated? This was the date that former US President, Bill Clinton, declared that June would be a time dedicated to the LGBTQ+ community and it would be called Pride Month 🏳️‍🌈
Lady Gaga Pride GIF by MTV Movie & TV Awards
It wasn’t long before this celebration exploded internationally, and now we set aside this whole month to focus not only on visibility but on acceptance and inclusion as well. While a lot of progress has undeniably been made, there is still much to be done, and OneNightOnly is proud to be an ally. Because, after all, love is love, and pleasure is for everyone!

From gay clubs to drag queens, there are many exciting activities that originate from or are geared towards this vibrant community. Everyone on the LGBTQ+ spectrum can get involved to meet like-minded individuals, support the community, or just have a gay old time! Here’s how you can go about finding your safe – and really fun! – space.

1. Take Pride 
South Africa has a progressive constitution, and you’ll be happy to know that we have been hosting Pride marches and events since 1990. While historically they were mainly for political advocacy and raising awareness - and, to an extent, they still are - they have become flamboyant and exciting gatherings that give community members and allies a chance to get colourful and sparkly and enjoy some queer festivities.

The two most popular and highly attended events in Mzansi are hosted in Cape Town and Joburg and don’t take place in June but in the summer months to guarantee a good turnout and good vibes. Make sure you get your tickets!

2. Be social
By joining LGBTQ+-specific social media communities on X (formerly Twitter), TikTok, Facebook, or Instagram, you can keep your finger on the pulse of what’s happening in your local scene, from events to social spaces to nightlife. Some notable accounts that deserve a follow are Mamba Online, South Africa’s premier (and most stylish) gay news and lifestyle medium primarily aimed at the urban, trendsetting South African gay man; Other Village People, who curate queer-centred events and spaces around the country; and Kim Windvogel, a sex-positive content creator and host of Showmax's adults-only documentary, Sex & Pleasure

There are, of course, several individual influencers and content creators in this space who speak candidly about their experiences in the local scene.

3. Go out and about
Gay clubs have, for decades, been a safe space for members of the LGBTQ+ community to meet up and let loose. And, fortunately, South Africa has several to choose from, so get your dancing shoes ready!
Party Reality Tv GIF by Bachelorette Weekend on CMT
Some of the hotspots in the Mother City include lesbian hangout Beaulah Bar, Zer021 Social Bar, and Crew Bar, all of which are located in the CBD. A popular venue that has locations in both Cape Town and Jozi is Beefcakes, where you can grab dinner and take in a show by one of our nation’s talented drag queens. In Joburg, some of the most popular gay clubs are Babylon Bar in Sandton, the Mozambican-themed Xai Xai Lounge in Melville, and The GAY Club SA on the East Rand.

4. Get flirty
Of course, a foolproof way to meet other LGBTQ+ peeps and feel more involved in the movement is through dating apps. The most popular one for gay men is Grindr, while Feeld is another popular app designed for people with a more open-minded, alternative and modern approach to dating.
Bored Tinder GIF by SoulPancake
Bumble and Hinge are more mainstream but can still be great meeting spots for people with similar interests. Bumble also has a BFF setting that you can use to meet friends, which can help to grow your social network. These apps are all free and available on the App Store and Google Play. And if you do (or don't) meet your perfect match, you can always explore our Pride Collection of toys and treats curated specifically to tickle everyone's fancy this Pride Month (and beyond!).

P.S. For those wanting to learn about the rich history of Pride Month check out our Take Pride blog for more.