Kaye Ally at Wednesday's Johannesburg Pride event in Fourways

Kaye Ally at Wednesday’s Johannesburg Pride event in Fourways

The Johannesburg Pride Planning Committee held its “Pride and Prejudices” gathering in Fourways on Wednesday night, ahead of Saturday’s planned Pride event in Sandton.

A small but enthusiastic group of people attended the function at Cafe Culture in Fourways, which featured photos and flyers from the 24 year history of Johannesburg Pride projected onto a wall.

Pride Project Manager Kaye Ally welcomed the attendees and commented that her team had only four and half months to organise the event. She promised that next year’s Johannesburg Pride would be far more ambitious in its plans.

Ally said that one of her aims for 2014 was to focus on “unity in the community” and “bridging the gaps,” acknowledging that the LGBTI community has in recent years “been broken”.

The closure in April of the organisation that previously put on Johannesburg Pride led to sharp divisions within the city’s LGBTI community and two groups emerged to plan separate Pride events.

Earlier this month hundreds of LGBTI people marched through the streets of Braamfontein and Hillbrow for the first Joburg People’s Pride. Ally’s committee will now be holding their Johannesburg Pride event and march on Saturday, after it was postponed late last month and moved from the inner city.

Wednesday’s function included talks and discussions around two key pieces of legislation that dramatically bolstered the legal standing of LGBTI people in South Africa.

Committee member and activist Simone Heradien spoke about the Alteration of Sex and Sex Description Act (2003), which allowed transgender people to have their gender legally changed without having to undergo gender reassignment surgery.

Heradien noted that while the legislation was a historic victory for the LGBTi community, “ten years later there are still some Home Affairs officials who refuse to implement it”.

She also commented that Saturday’s event would have the backing of transgender and intersex people for the first time in years following a fall-out with previous Pride organisers over the event identifying as a “gay and lesbian” one instead of an LGBTI event.

Sebastian Matroos, an activist who made submissions to Parliament to legalise same-sex marriage in 2005, recounted the vociferous anti-gay responses he encountered at public hearings on the then proposed law.

Eugene Brockman, one of the creators of the Gay Flag of South Africa narrated a slide show of the flag’s creation and achievements in supporting ‘corrective rape” activists and as well as its campaign against anti-gay lobbying by traditional leaders.

Johannesburg Pride will take place at the George Lea Sandton Sports Club in Sandton on Saturday 26 October. The main parking area and starting point for the march (starting at 10 am) is in nearby Sutherland Road, off William Nichol Drive.

More details on the event can be found here.

Below are pictures from Wednesday’s Johannesburg Pride event.

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