The newly-formed Joburg Pride Company has announced its plans for the 2007 annual gay parade. The organisation, which is pending registration as a ‘Section 21 Not For Gain Company’, is comprised of volunteer members of the local gay community.

It was elected in June last year when various representatives of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Intersex (LGBTI) organisations and other interested groups met to determine the way forward for the long-running Joburg Pride.

Now in its 18th year, the theme for the 2007 festival is ‘Coming of Age’, and it will be a celebration of gay identity and freedom in the context of Africa.

“Joburg Pride has experienced many difficult growing pains over the years”, says Joburg Pride Company Chair, Tracey Sandilands, “but the new organisation is determined to ensure that this year’s event will be organised in a professional and financially responsible manner.”

Kicking off on Sunday 30 September, the festival will include a week-long series of gay events in the areas of arts and culture, entertainment, community development and workshops to address current issues affecting LGBTI people.

The festival will culminate on Saturday 6 October in the traditional Parade, followed by an open-air celebration and later by after-parties at various venues around Joburg. The parade date has been chosen in consultation with the City of Johannesburg to avoid clashing with any other events. The route for the Parade is under discussion, and will be announced once finalised.

“The city deserves an event that has the support of the region’s LGBTI community, and which will become the foundation for an increasingly popular and memorable annual world-class Pride celebration,” adds Sandilands.

Joburg Pride Company’s vision for 2007 and beyond is to contribute towards the creation of a world in which a united and equally-developed LGBTI community confidently expresses its identity and diversity, is recognised and celebrated, and its constituents are seen as full and equal members of all societies.

For more information on Joburg Pride 2007: Coming of Age, please email info@joburgpride.org.

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