What is a pride parade?

A pride parade is a celebration of LGBT identity, self-acceptance, legal rights, and pride. LGBT stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender. Most pride parades take place once a year. They are peaceful celebrations and help work towards the acceptance of LGBT rights. There can be more than one in any city, sometimes focusing on different things. In South Africa for example, the ‘Johannesburg Pride’ focuses more on celebration, whereas the ‘Johannesburg People’s Pride’ is more explicitly political.

The first pride parade took place in the United States in 1970. Since then, parades have been held in over 45 countries across the world. Many of these countries are lucky enough to have these organised with government help and to hold them unchallenged. However, some pride parades have to be held in secret because of the oppressive and hostile view toward the LGBT community. The size and place of the parade depends how it is celebrated. People often dress in bright colours and wear clothes with the rainbow on. The rainbow is a symbol of LGBT pride and is so seen everywhere at these events. If it is large-scale, there may be famous speakers, live music, and American-style floats. Small-scale ones may simply consist of people getting together and celebrating their identity. For example, the pride parade last year in Kakuma, a refugee camp in Kenya, began with a football match amongst participants. 

To this day, Africa has only held pride parades in a few countries. These include South Africa, Uganda, Swaziland/Eswatini, and Mauritius. The first was in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1990. It was used to advocate against the legal discrimination against LGBT people and to celebrate the community there. The 1996 Constitution, promoted by Nelson Mandela, provides equality and freedom from discrimination against the LGBT community. Whilst this is the law, people still protest the pride parades. These protestors may view being gay or transgender as a sin and conflicting with their religion.

This is the view of many African governments, where people can be imprisoned or put to death for their sexuality. Pride parades in Uganda, Kenya, and Somalia in the last few years have been shut down by mob and police brutality. Police and civilian protestors have used tear gas, stoning, physical force, and verbal threats to harm those in a peaceful parade. For example, at the 2018 pride parade Kakuma, a trans refugee was hospitalised after being punched in the stomach by another refugee. Despite this hostility and threat of violence, the parade intends to take place again this year, to peacefully work towards LGBT rights being accepted.



1 comment

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