Pride Lost, Pride Regained

I have fond memories of the London Pride events that I attended in my late 20’s. It was a period where I was coming to terms with being gay, and there was something really comforting about walking in a parade or dancing in a park, with hundreds of other same gender loving people.

A few months ago, feeling a bit nostalgic about how I had experienced those early Pride events, I decided to sign up to be a volunteer at World Pride, which is due to take place in London on Saturday 7th July. I have fond memories of being a volunteer at the ’96 London Pride, and this time with it being World Pride, I felt it was a great opportunity to stand in pride, on a global scale, with many others. More

The Essence of Pride

What does Pride mean to you?

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The (recycled) theme for June is ‘Pride’

The theme for the stories to be shared in June is ‘Pride’. It was a theme covered by OutTales last July, and featured a broad range of stories (which you can check out here).

This morning, one of the headlines in the Huffington Post caught my attention – Pride Parades are they good or bad for the LGBT community and it got me thinking about Pride all over again and reflecting on the fact that the season is about to begin; and whether we like it or not, it is indeed part of ‘gay culture’.

I am sure that in the countries where it is illegal to be gay/lesbian or not culturally acceptable, those who identify as LGBTI would welcome an opportunity to have a day where they can come out and celebrate their sexuality with Pride. And yet, somehow for us living in countries where the law does not prevent us from celebrating our sexuality, Pride can often be seen as a relic from old days or simply another opportunity for escapism from the wounds that we are too ashamed to acknowledge. More

Oh My Foolish Pride!

Overcoming my Pride

I have experienced a few REALLY exciting things in my life – my first ride in a limousine; my first step on the soil of another continent, my first foot-popping kiss; my first job…the list goes on. But I’m yet to figure out how excited I was to experience a gay pride, for the first time – the 2011 London Gay Pride!

Time went by really fast on this day, and I didn’t get the chance to wear the drag costume I’d put together for this great event in my life. But I had on my halo and fairy god-mother wand that I had bought at the £1 shop earlier on my way to meet my friend, who assured me I looked heavenly! More

Just because I’m not like you, does not make me less human!

I can distinctly remember the first time I saw a TV news article on Gay rights. The year was 1988 and it was a short report on Sweden’s recognition of same-sex unions aired on ‘Voice of Kenya’ (now The Kenya broadcasting Corporation). I must have been 12 or so. What I realised then and was struck by the most were the images of the Swedish LGBT community, openly and proudly professing their orientation. More so, the sight of drag queens in full regalia was especially a revelation to me. I observed the contempt expressed by the News anchor, which brought home the reality of being gay in an African country. I swore there and then that I would address the prejudice associated with Homosexuality.

10 years later (1997), I started ISHTAR a Community Based Organization Working with Men Who Have Sex with Other Men (MSM) on HIV, STIs and Reproductive Health Rights. Obviously, I could not openly address Gay rights, so I disguised our group as a theatre troupe. Our crowning glory came when we performed CLEOPATRA, Kenya’s first full drag act! The Egyptian ambassador was even present on opening night!

I moved to the Netherlands in 2001 and quickly realized that despite the legal freedom and an amazingly tolerant attitude towards homosexuals, there was a serious issue of homophobia and intolerance within the African migrant community. There also did not seem to be any counter measures against this. It took a while, but in 2008, Stichting African Gay Youth Foundation was born. More

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