Durban Pride (Pic: Joy Khumalo)
Durban Pride has joined the hundreds of Pride events around the world that have been forced to cancel or postpone due to the Covid-19 epidemic.
On Thursday, the organisers of the KZN event confirmed, not unexpectedly, that the 10th annual Durban Pride would not go ahead as planned in June.
They said that “South Africa is going through a difficult time socially and economically where people’s health and wellbeing are concerned.”
They noted reports of domestic violence, abuse of LGBT+ people, sex workers and drug users “whose families never knew about them, are ashamed of them, hate them, etc., and so much more” during the lockdown.
Durban Pride warned that over the next two weeks of extended lockdown “homes will have less supplies, tempers will fly as families fight over space, food, resources, etc. We expect a rise in nos of people who will be homeless, jobless, and suffering from various types of mental illness and social imbalance.”
While “commemorating LGBTI+ lives and struggles, and celebrating rights achieved and challenges overcome is traditionally what Durban Pride does in June,” this year the focus “must first be directed to overcoming Covid19 and as many of the challenges discussed above.”
The organisers said that “with this in mind and other social and economic considerations Durban Pride 2020 is regrettably being postponed until a later date in the year or when possible to do so.”
June to August is the traditional LGBTIQ+ Pride season in many countries around the world and hundreds of Prides have been cancelled in response to coronavirus social isolation measures. In South Africa, several events including Free State Pride and the Pink Loerie Mardi Gras and Arts Festival (along with Knysna Pride) have now been postponed due to the lockdown.
In response, an online Global Pride hosted by InterPride and the European Pride Organisers Association is set to take place on Saturday, 27 June. South Africa is expected to be one of the countries that will participate.