Has Pride lost its relevance? Or has it just become an excuse to get drunk, get laid and generally party yourself into oblivion? With the most gay-friendly Constitution in the world, do we still need to be marching in the streets?

These questions are asked every year – usually just before we prepare for another Pride event – and so they should be. It is always important to assess where our community stands and its relationship to society in general. But what is often not considered is that we cannot simply look at our immediate environment nor forget to reflect on both the past and the future.

Most importantly, the rights that we have gained are not cast in stone. They can be removed. Political and social landscapes can change with dramatic speed and complacency is a dangerous position to take. Never take your rights for granted – there are people working daily to erase these from our legal and political systems.

Bear in mind that many in our country continue to face discrimination – and even physical violence – because of their sexuality; despite our progressive laws.

Around the world, millions also face daily oppression and even the death penalty – just for being gay. We have a responsibility to be aware of those who are not as well off as we are.

Courtesy of Joburg Pride, here’s a summary of why we think Pride remains just as relevant as ever in 2009.

    1. It’s a celebration of our sexual identity and culture.

    2. It celebrates the freedoms and liberties that we have gained thus far.

    3. It ensures that we do not forget those who fought for those rights.

    4. It provides visibility for a community that is largely ignored by others.

    5. It’s an opportunity to show that we have no shame in our lives and identities.

    6. It provides a platform for LGBT groups and interests.

    7. It’s a safe space for young LGBT people to come out.

    8. It provides a political space to demand and lobby for equality and civil rights.

    9. It shows to the world that we do exist in significant numbers and cannot be ignored.

    10. It provides media coverage for issues that may affect us.

    11. It allows our friends and families to show their support for us.

    12. It is a social space for LGBT people who may otherwise be isolated from others.

    13. It shows solidarity with our brothers and sisters around the globe who remain oppressed.

    14. It’s a beacon of hope on a continent that is largely unfriendly to LGBT people.

    15. It is a uniquely gay experience in world that is overwhelmingly straight.

    16. It helps us remember that our freedom is always at risk.

    17. It allows us to interact with those in our community who we don’t usually get to interact with.

    18. It reflects the diversity and broadness of the LGBT community.

    19. And finally, it’s also just a fantastic way to have a great time!

Joburg Pride 2009 takes place this Saturday 3rd October at Zoo Lake Sports Club from 9am. Click here for more information.

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