June was pride month and for real, it was full of sass, pomp, glamour and good vibes.
Swaziland held its first ever pride festival and it was full of life!
LGBTI activists in Swaziland worked day and night so as to make history by celebrating its first ever Pride festival in the last week of June and everyone showed their support on social media by tweeting as a way of showing solidarity.
Another good news: There was a mini pride celebration by Queer refugees in Kakuma and I'm so stoked like how daring is that? How bad ass are you guys?! I'm so proud of you!
Bad news: Unfortunately, anonymous homophobes were so quick to send death threats their way but what has happened has happened. They have already made their existence known by being themselves and the struggle has just began.
Wait, that’s it?
Yes. WE NEED PRIDE.
Pride was born in 1969 when Marsha P Johnson threw the first brick at the police in the Stonewall riots. The moment that brick was thrown, our fight as Queer folks had truly began.
Still, it’s sad how there has been debates here and there on whether or not Pride is still a protest and if it's necessary.
First, until each and every member of the LGBTI community all over Africa and around the world is free to be who they are without fear of persecution or even murder, it will always be a protest. It will be always be a form of resistance. It will be a way of saying we are gays, we are here and we mean business.
Second, it’s important to celebrate milestones being achieved around the world each and every year. We have more openly LGBTI people in politics, celebrities celebrating queerness like Janelle Monae's Song Pink, LGBTI stories being told on the big screen, and some of us can get married in more countries than ever before especially in the Western world but it can be easy to get selective amnesia when we make progress.
Let's not forget that in Africa we are still being attacked, discriminated, tortured, persecuted and killed for who we love.
Some people who are openly queer may see Pride as just a party, but it's so much more for us who are still afraid of being ourselves.
We can't be open about who we are as we are faced with constant homophobia, persecution, death threats, family rejection and being held back by archaic laws that threaten our very existence as human beings and that's why we need pride.
That is why we need to hear these stories.
Not so long ago, my bubble was busted when Rafiki, a film by one Wanuri which tells the story of two lesbians finding love in Nairobi and which also happened to be the first Kenyan movie to be screened at Cannes Film Festival was banned by Ezekiel Mutua, an ardent supporter of the gays and lesbians in Kenya.
Oh it was allegedly "going to promote lesbianism" you know?
Like in the light of all this fuckedupness that is part of Kenya right now, Kisumu MCAs still had time to sit down and propose that all 'gay clinics' be closed and crackdown on all gay folks be done with immediate effect because 3000 gays in Kisumu?
Who will marry our daughters?
It's hard being queer right now as all these can make one feel so alone, alienated, abandoned and rejected and guess that's why we need pride.
We need to see people like us being themselves. We need to see people like us embracing their true selves. We need to see people like us existing and reclaiming their own spaces. We need to see people like us BEING.
I know we all attend events for different reasons, but we must never forget why we march, why we have to shout from the rooftops that being GAY is okay and there is nothing wrong with it. Some people still don’t get it and a constant reminder that we are here doesn't hurt.
Pride matters because the world is built around heterosexual privilege. A straight man can hold hands with his girlfriend without any problem while the majority of queer folks are still of walking together as a couple, let alone holding hands in public.
Pride matters because it's a movement and we all have a part to play in that.