Residents of Knysna line the streets
during the 2008 Pink Loerie festival.

A group opposing the Pink Loerie gay mardi gras from taking place in Knysna has been started on Facebook.

Titled, “Natural Loerie – Stop the Pink Loerie Mardis Gras from ruining Knysna tourism,” the group’s description reads:

“Tired of cancellations for your B&B due to the Pink Loerie? Tired of Knysna being marketed as gay when most of us aren’t? Tired of sexual acts being simulated on the main street during the Pink Loerie? Tired of Church Groups and Religious nuts boycotting your business because of the pink loerie? Help put a stop to the Pink Loerie Mardi gras once and for all – it’s terrible for business, bad for main-stream tourism and certainly not the kind of influences to bring up our children with.”

The group’s creator is listed as Jessica Colander, but she is not included as a member of the group. The group also does not have any administers or officers.

The second wall post on the group, dated 14 August 2008, is by Pastor Jerome Nel of the Garden Route Christian Centre, who has in previous years headed local opposition to the event.

“The Pink loerie organisers are lying to the public… Their claims of financial gain for Knysna that they attribute to the “success” of the PLF [Pink Loerie Festuval], are bogus,” he wrote.

“There is no way of scientifically calculating the possibility of profit or loss because of the PLF. What is clear is that there are enormous no’s of people who STAY AWAY form (sic) Knysna over that time and then never return.”

Last year, Nel led a group of around 300 people who delivered a petition to the town authorities in an unsuccessful bid to stop the festival from taking place.

Elrie Bosman, who described herself as “a straight woman who has lived in Knysna and surrounding area for the last 15 years”, wrote that she is for the annual celebration of gay identity.

“The Pink Loerie is a tourist attraction, and since we live in a tourist dependant area it would not make sense to cancel an event like this. The businesses I know of and am involved in profit from such events.

“I have a daughter that has grown up with the Pink Loerie festival, and rather than being influenced negatively, she has learned to respect and appreciate all the different people from all walks of life. This is something Knysna can teach the rest of the world.”

While the group currently has around 72 members, most, who have only recently joined, appear to be supportive of the event; using the group as a forum to admonish the group’s mysterious creator and Pink Loerie detractors.

You can find the group here.

The 2009 Pink Loerie Mardi Gras takes place from 30 April to 3 May.

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