Saturday's LGBT Pride march in Namibia

Saturday’s LGBT Pride march in Namibia

What’s been billed as Namibia’s first LGBT Pride march took place without incident in Windhoek on Saturday morning.

The event was held in the city’s township of Katutura and saw about 100 people taking to the streets to proudly express their pride.

The marchers held up placards calling for LGBT equality, with messages such as “Up with love, down with hate” and “Dare to be different”.

The half hour march was followed by a fun day at the UN Plaza, where participants celebrated with friends and family and played sports.

The festivities concluded with a party that night.

Linda Baumann, director of Out-Right Namibia, which organised the event, told Mambaonline that the day was “perfect!”

She said that although LGBT-related demonstrations or protests have been held in Namibia before, she believes that this was the first Pride event and celebration in the country’s history.

“It was a celebration, as well as in recognition and remembrance of LGBT victims of gender based violence,” she said.

Baumann commented that a memorable aspect of the event was that “we had black and white people marching together with pride”.

She explained that “there is a gap between the two communities in the country and it was historic; a mixture of our communities getting together”.

According to Baumann, the event was generally well recieved by members of the public although there were a few negative responses. “Some were saying ‘down with homosexuals’, but others were cheering.

“The negativity didn’t deter us. We were handing out sweets with messages and branded water bottles that lifted people’s attitude to us,” she said.

Baumann revealed that the event was approved by the city of Windhoek’s traffic department, which supplied four officers to ensure that participants were safe.

The city also gave the organisers permission to use the UN Plaza venue for the fun day. Baumann said that this official support from the city bodes well for LGBT rights in the country.

Consensual “sodomy” is illegal in Namibia and could be used to prosecute gay men, although this is not believed to have happened since the country’s independence in 1990.

Out-Right Namibia was created in 2010. The organisation recently formed a national community based executive committee representing eight of the 14 regions in Namibia.

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