Gay and lesbian Johannesburgers will be spoilt for choice this year. A second group planning to organise a Pride event in the city has set its date for Saturday 5 October, a week after the first.
The organising committee behind the event emerged from two public meetings hosted by the Forum for the Empowerment of Women (FEW) and the One in Nine Campaign during the past two months, attended by a broad range of activists and individuals.
The committee said in a statement that they plan to put on a “People’s Pride” for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, asexual, and queer (LGBTIAQ) community.
According to the organisers, there will be public art installations, performances, exhibitions, direct action, workshops, and debates over the months leading up to a march on October 5.
The event will be based around the “Pride manifesto” that came out of the group’s meetings.
The manifesto highlights “anti-racism, anti-capitalism, anti-sexism, anti-ableism, and the positioning of LGBTIAQ struggles within broader socio-political and economic contexts and struggles in South Africa, and globally”.
The organising committee said that the People’s Pride “is envisioned as an inclusive and explicitly political movement for social justice”.
The committee slammed previous Pride events that “catered, often explicitly, to affluent, mostly white individuals.
“This deliberate de-politicisation of Pride and emphasis on festivities for the affluent is a slap in the face of individuals from economically marginalised communities, particularly black lesbians and gender non-conforming people, whose lives are characterised by high levels of structural and interpersonal violence.
“In privileging corporate sponsorships and promoting the market value of such events, Pride ceased to be an inclusive space that was safe and accessible to all members of LGBTIAQ communities,” stated the committee.
It further said that it is in the process of creating a Pride calendar of events and actions will serve to:
ﾕ Build solidarity with other politically oriented Prides in the greater Johannesburg region and beyond, such as Soweto Pride and Ekurhuleni Pride;
ﾕ Educate and conscientise communities about the struggles that shape a range of experiences of being queer in South Africa;
ﾕ Honour the contributions and resilience of queer Africans;
ﾕ Celebrate the hard-won legislative freedoms we have today, recognising that none of us are free until all of us are substantively free; and
ﾕ Articulate demands for furthering social justice for all.
The organising committee noted that its meetings are open to all and hosted by Constitution Hill. In addition, mass meetings will be held regularly to ensure transparency and accountability.
Another Johannesburg Pride 2013 event has been scheduled to take place on Saturday 28 September in Newtown. Details can be found here.