I wonder if everyone really understands the meaning behind LGBTI Pride Parades and Events? The role and purpose behind it? And it’s significance?
The dictionary defines a Gay Pride as a sense of dignity and satisfaction in connection with the public acknowledgement of one’s own homosexuality.
The purpose and the importance; is the positive stance against discrimination and violence toward lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people to promote their self-affirmation, equality
rights, increase their visibility as a social group, build community, and celebrate sexual diversity and gender variance. A specific day would be diarised within the community, and in most cases the media is invited to capture this.
Gay Pride culture has spread almost all over the world from big cities to small towns. In Africa, Uganda has zero tolerance towards the existence of LGBTI people. In fact, they want to do away with Gay people altogether. Despite this, the first Ugandan Gay Pride was organised in that country even though the harsh laws makes it suicide for one to partake in such events.
Maybe just like what happened in South Africa, things will change in the future. At the moment, South Africa is the only country in Africa where the constitution recognises the rights of LGBTI people
Joburg Pride is by far the biggest in the continent, attracting LGBTI people from all over Africa, and of all races. Every year, Zoo Lake is packed to capacity for the event. Soweto pride organised by FEW attracts members of the black LGBTI community from all over the Gauteng Township, and is so big that it competes with Cape Town Pride. The pride culture has spread all over South Africa, including Ekurhuleni Pride, Limpopo Pride, Kwa-Thema pride - just to mention a few. This is all good, right?
My concern is that we only have a small percentage of people that actually attend the Pride Marches or Demonstrations. The vast majority of people that I know only attend the after-party event. It seems like people are there to show off new fashion trends, consuming alcohol, finding new love, and connecting with old friends, not to mention partying. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. But is our existence going to be recognised by having a big party in a park? The community won’t follow us to the after-party and hear us out. We won’t conquer the enemy which is homophobic and full of hate, unless we are willing to attend the march or demonstration. I believe that if everyone who attended the after-party were to actually attend the march, the sheer strength of the voices will attract attention that would solidify our existence. We would be visible to the larger society.
The politicians and prominent leaders in our society are spitting fire against Homosexuals. Let's shut them up. The communities we live in are homophobic and full of hate crimes, and corrective rape is on the rise. We can find a way to make them realise that we will not conform to their ignorance and patriarchy, but only if we unite under one LGBTI umbrella. We should wear our bright colours and embrace our diverse beauty, flying the gay flag high while holding our placards portraying massages of resistance and existence. Singing one song in unity. Showing people how lovely gay people are.
Soweto Pride (organised by FEW) is scheduled for Saturday 29 September 2012, and will commerce from Credo Mutwa Cultural Village in Soweto at 10:00am. Let's all fill the street of Soweto. I believe it will make a huge positive impact. And we will be taken seriously because we taking our homosexuality seriously. After the march we party in celebration of our existence. And Joburg Pride is also just around the corner, and will take place on Saturday 6 October 2012.
It begins with you. Let’s protect our pride so that it doesn’t turn to shame. The struggle continues....