In August 2013 Ugandan Pride took place for the second time. Five days of debate, party, transgender night and a movie-festival were concluded with a beachparty and a pride march. Frank van Dalen, chair of Pride United and member of Interpride Human Rights Committee, attended the pride in Uganda and witnessed up tot 200 brave LGBTI-persons taking a public stand for their rights.
Since then a lot has happened. The Public Order Management Bill got adopted, preventing public gatherings that are ‘against the order of Ugandan’ from happening. The anti-gay bill signed by president Museveni criminalizes LGBTI’s even further. While the debate was going on whether a third pride event in Uganda should take place in 2014 the Supreme Court overthrew the anti-gay laws because of procedural flaws. It gave new momentum to the pride movement in Uganda. In August the third pride event took place, with financial support via the solidarity fund of InterPride.
But Uganda is not the only African country where pride events in hostile environments take place. InterPride attended the Pan African Ilga Conference in Kenya last March and hosted a round table to talk about pride events in Africa. For the first time in 2013 a pride-event took place in Zimbabwe, the country ruled by the homophobic president Robert Mugabe. In three more African countries local LGBTI-organizations are developing new initiatives as well.
The pride movement in South Africa is also strongly developing. New pride events in townships are organized, because the existing pride events are considered not to be inclusive enough. This development marks a growing consciousness amongst black LGBTI’s. And more countries are likely to follow in the years to come.
InterPride human rights committee chaired by Cain Williamson has decided to work closely together with the Interpride solidarity committee, co-chaired by Alan Reiff, to support the pride events slowly developing in Africa. “Region 16 has basically been an untouched area for InterPride considering the extremely hostile environment Africa is for LGBTI’s. But with African LGBTI’s standing up and starting to organize their own pride events, InterPride should do all within her capabilities to give support”, Williamson says.