Bev Ditsie’s ‘love letter’ to Pride
One of the founders of Johannesburg Pride, Bev Ditsie, has expressed both her frustration with Pride and her refusal to call for a boycott of the event.
In an open letter posted on social media, the filmmaker and long-time activist says she has found the last twenty years of the city’s Pride season to be “very painful for me.”
“This is the time of the year where I mourn the loss of the dream that began the first Pride march,” she writes.
“We were from different backgrounds, different races, ages, genders, orientations, abilities etc… and it didn’t matter. We were a mish-mash of diverse people unified by one goal, to be seen, heard and one day to be treated with the dignity and respect that is enjoyed by all other human beings.”
“To this end, visibility, particularly black visibility would be key,” expalins Ditsie, who recently received an honorary doctorate from the Claremont Graduate University in California.
She goes on to describe her take on the history of Pride since it started in 1990 and claims that the event was in essence hijacked by white gay men. They, she asserts, changed the march to a “parade” and moved its location from the city to the suburbs.
“Gay white South Africa could finally openly celebrate their freedom without being encumbered by the rest of our struggles,” she says.
“Annually, the violations, discrimination, gang rapes and murders in the townships continued unabated, while Pride continued to celebrate in suburbia.”
Ultimately, however, Ditsie writes that: “I cannot call for or even support the boycott of Pride. I cannot in good conscience deprive anyone of the experience, even if it is tainted with a sense of mistrust and hostility.”
She says that this year she intends to celebrate Pride in her own way by having a picnic at Zoo Lake.
“Those of you going to the Johannesburg Pride Parade, enjoy yourselves. You know what this is about and why you are there. Take up the space. Make it yours. After all, it belongs to you, whether you are from Alex or Camps Bay,” she asserts.
You can read Ditsie’s full letter here.
Johannesburg Pride 2019 takes place on Saturday 26 October in Sandton.
This is not a love letter, is it a hate letter Bev ? – you call yourself an activist? – you have failed !!?? so wake up and dont feel sorry for yourself – have no shame or self pity ! it shouldnt be painfull, is this direct racism and discrimination on your part ? – when you wrote this hate letter ? where you confused or what ? – the last 20 years – what did you do about this !!!???? it looks like nothing !!!!?? did you go to Soweto pride this year ? that only had black people on its marketing material for the Soweto pride ? which showed myself – no whites – inviting advert ? No !!! I called the organisers involved and complained -I am still awaiting an answer – what a joke ! oooopppssss I just looked to add advert and it had been changed my apology they removed that advert for Soweto Pride – Well done – we getting somewhere !!
We were from different backgrounds, different races, ages, genders, orientations, abilities etc… and it didn’t matter. It did matter every year I attended and have been present at all the Prides since 1990 – take a look at the pictures and please note all the different races !!. You seem to contradict yourself clearly – you need some direction Dear ??
Hijacked by white gay men. – all races attended the Prides – do you have a problem or a complex about the color of your skin !!?? that you need to target white gays or gay white organizers ??? shame did you loose out ?? was it financial ?
“Gay white South Africa could finally openly celebrate their freedom without being encumbered by the rest of our struggles,” you say- what a joke as an activist – its called follow your leader – you are no leader or activist by any means. Soweto pride and all other Prides openly celebrated struggles !!!???
“Annually, the violations, discrimination, gang rapes and murders in the townships continued unabated, while Pride continued to celebrate in suburbia.”- pride happened in Soweto this year Dear ! did you attend ? or maybe another picnic ?
A picnic at Zoo Lake ? – do you not want to be with other races ? or once again did you loose out ?? why bother you have done nothing for gay activism? and have once again failed as an activist ? as a person why do you have to identify everything as gay white ? -it shows you have a problem with yourself , March or parade – what ever they signify Gay Pride !! Pride for Africa
I can see why the last 20 years was so painfull for you – you had no direction ? is it a problem with the color of your skin ? You still have time to change your mind and attend JHBPride for an apology to everyone ??
I would be quite happy to accept a reply from Bev , Roberto maybe you can get a reply from her and submit it here Thank you for all your articles Roberto- you are a true activist. Well done !!
Seriously…dont you guys think we face enough challenges in this world to know also bring in the racial card within our own community…I thought that pride unites us all but clearly we got lots of work within our community before we can excpect the rest of the world to accept us…