Gays and lesbians in Botswana have celebrated their identity with a second annual Pride party in Gaborone, reports Behind the Mask.

The website says the recent event, which was hosted by Lesbians, Gay and Bisexuals of Botswana (LeGaBiBo), was held at a private house and attended by around 200 people.

“It surpassed our expectations because one of the reasons behind was to get as many people as possible to become members of LeGaBiBo to strengthen our voice,” Caine Youngman, Chairperson of LeGaBiBo, told Behind the Mask.

Because of the criminalisation of homosexual acts in Botswana, the party was by invite only. A 2005 event was crashed by the media which published the names of partygoers without their consent.

“These are the spaces where people become comfortable and when people are at ease, it is very easy for us to convince them to join the struggle for our rights and recognition,” said Youngman.

LeGaBiBo was launched in 1998, but its attempts to register itself as an independent fund-raising organisation have been rejected by government departments.

Homosexual conduct is illegal in Botswana and is punishable with up to seven years imprisonment.

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