I love attending Pride. It might have a lot to do with the fact that I come from a country where staging anything close to Pride would get you stoned to death with no remorse from your murderers. In fact, the State would gladly decorate your murderers with state medals, the pastors would declare them worthy warriors for Christ and everyone would blame you for daring to flaunt your evil lifestyle choice!
I value freedom, I value democracy, I value equality, I believe diversity is the natural spice of life and equality trumps all. It therefore saddens me that in many countries, people would be killed if they dared to stage what is now taken for granted in some parts of the world; Pride.
Pride is a protest; yes some think it has lost a lot of its protest value and now just another avenue for big organizations to make profits. Some say they do not attend pride anymore because it seems it is now all about showing off, getting drunk and strutting on the street half naked. Some are angry that the new generations who now freely participate in pride do not understand or value the price the older generation paid for them to be able to stage a pride.
I think pride should still be enjoyed by the old and new generation. The mere fact that you can freely stage a pride on the street with guaranteed state protection is something to celebrate. It was not always the case. Such diversity, such freedom, such protection needs to be celebrated not boycotted. Bear in mind that it is not yet Uhuru for sexual minorities even in UK. Same-sex couples are still fighting for marriage equality. Homophobia still exists and transsexuals can still get killed on the streets of London.
My group, Nigerian LGBTIs in Diaspora Against Anti Same Sex Laws marched at London pride second time running this year to celebrate love in all its diversity and also create awareness on the plight of LGBTs in Nigeria. It was great and the support from the crowd was wonderful. It was an opportunity to give a face and a voice to the many voiceless and faceless Nigerian LGBTs living in fear in Nigeria. The ‘Jail the Gays’ bill passed by the Lawmakers in Nigeria stipulates a 14 year jail term for LGBTs and 10 years imprisonment for advocates of LGBT rights. The draconian bill is waiting for the assent of the President
People came to us during the march to inquire how they could support us. Many are eager to help but just don’t know how. I believe every voice counts. With access to internet and various social networks, the world is fast becoming a global village. We can create awareness, raise the issue, blog about it and put pressure on our governments to take a progressive stand on LGBT rights in their international relations. Also support local lgbt organizations. Every little helps, every voice counts. Please join us in saying NO to this bill. Sign and share our petition: www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/president-goodluck-jonathan-don-t-sign-the-jail-the-gays-bill-into-law.
Yes Pride was so much fun this year, but it seemed to me that everyone I knew at pride this year came partnered. Everywhere I looked, everyone was busy tonguing and all that. And when I bumped into friends, they were always handy with the opener “Hey meet my partner.” It might have something to do with this year’s London Pride theme; ‘Love (and marriage)’. Well, maybe we can have something for the many awesome, happily single, LGBTs next year? Just saying… not jealous!