LGBTI community in Bloemfontein to mark Free State Pride

Free State Pride 2015

Free State Pride 2015

The LGBTI community in the Free State will march for equality and celebrate diversity in Bloemfontein on Saturday 19 March.

The 2016 Free State Pride march will kick off at 10am at Hoffman Square on Charlotte Maxeke Street and will make its way to the city’s VIC (Visitor Information Centre).

Celebrations, including the crowning of Miss Free State Pride, will continue into the afternoon and evening at the VIC.

“It’s less a protest and more of a celebration and awareness project,” Pride Coordinator Gleo Booysen told Mambaonline. “We are moving away from ‘please accept us’ to ‘yes we are here.'”

Booysen, from the LGBTI group Rainbow Seeds, explained further that, “We also aim to empower the LGBTI community. There are a lot of hate crimes and people do not know what to do or where to go or where to find health facilities.”

According to Booysen, this is the fourth LGBTI Pride in the province. It was originally called Bloem Pride, but the name was changed “to generate more interest from other areas and to broaden it out” because the Free State “doesn’t really have any other Prides.”

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The event is being supported by entities including the TAC, the Department of Health, Anova Health and the University of the Free State.

Free State Pride, which attracted close to 1,200 people last year, will feature a number of events ahead of the march.

These include an information day to educate the community on Pride and LGBTI issues at Bloem Plaza (14 March); a gala dinner (15 March); a “take me out” dating social (15 March); a sex talk conference (17 March); and a pre-Pride event, including a mini march, in Botshabelo (18 March).

Free State Pride will also celebrate Human Rights Day at Thaba Nchu on 21 March.

For more information and event details, contact Booysen on 051 430 1023 or visit the Facebook page.

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