by Tinashe Wakapila
It was a very wonderful day on the 26th of June. The reason for my joy is because it was a day before pride. I had visitors who travelled from other provinces. They are friends that I met through Faces and Phases and Yithi Laba conference held at the beginning of June. So we had a long, lovely weekend.
Pride is a celebration of the free existence of LGBTI people, who are not defied by the law of South Africa. Sometimes I just think there is more to pride because the LGBTI society still faces issues like hate crimes, hate speech and homophobia, in some parts of the community. Anyhow, my story is about pride and how it went.
I woke up early in the morning and because I had visitors, I wanted to be an early bird, to give my guests the best moments. There were six people in a one bedroom flat, sleeping on the same bed. Funny enough we all fitted, (pride things). It was four femmes, Liz, a straight friend who supports me, Thando Nkozwana from Cape Town, Phila Mbanjwa from Pietermaritzburg and myself, then one butch, Terra Dick who was there to document pride, as well as Sam, a transgender who is my Zimbabwean partner.
As the girls, we had to rock our best look. So we gallivanted into town and checked shop by shop for lovely outfits. Yes lesbian women do so as well. Unfortunately our shopping turned into a stroll, which we had to cut short and rush to the march. We got ready and headed our way to the north beach were the march was starting. Slightly late, we found the parade halfway.
”We are family” was one of the songs we found ourselves humming while approaching the gates of the destination. Different food stalls were laid around and it was so expensive. As much as it was a celebration, most of the black majority found it difficult to celebrate. It was like more of a fundraising event than a celebration. A lot of wonderful performances were done, but the entertainment lacked the presence of many Lesbians. It focused more on the gay community and it was kind of a set back.
I visited the stalls hoping to find female safe-sex protection like dental dams, finger cots and gloves. But the most distributed safe-sex kits were for males. Once again, patriarchal attitudes, were some people still believe lesbian women do not have health risks factors were visible. Only one show was very educational and enlightening, it was from rainbow theatre, a gay and lesbian network. Durban Pride was yet another event which can have excellent significance. Most of us youngsters do not think or see it as an important day. We just see it as a mere day to go out and drink booze. The Pride March turnout was less than the after parties and after march events. Its significance for young people is not as it should be.