Marching with Pride, no time for Shame

In July 1995, I went to my first Pride event. At the time, I had gone under the guise that some friends were attending and the festival was also taking place locally. On that occasion I had felt like a kid looking through the window of a sweet shop – longing for the day when I would have the courage to stand in the store and partake in the delights that were on full display.

In between Pride ’95 and Pride ’96, a lot had happened in terms of me coming home to myself. During that period I had had my first liaison with a man, my first heartbreak and had come out at work and to a few close friends. As Pride ’96 approached, I was determined to be more than the kid looking through the glass of the sweet shop. This time I wanted to be part of the celebrations. At the time Pride represented to me an opportunity to show the world that I was proud to be who I am and there was no shame attached to being gay. In terms of my personality, I can be an ‘all or nothing’ person, and that year was no exception. I decided that rather than simply being one of the people watching the parade take place, I would be a steward on the march and at the festival in Clapham Common. More

Is Pride something to be Proud of?

Recently I was at London Pride, celebrating 25 years since my first Pride event. I love to be out on the streets of central London with thousands of out and proud queers and sensing how the good vibration we bring spreads through us and into the atmosphere of the Capital’s streets.

I was thrilled when a few years ago the park parties stopped (because they had become so commercial and bland) and we focussed our celebration in the centre of the city, particularly because we took over Trafalgar Square, the centre of the nation, and raised our rainbow flags high, giving out powerful social and political messages. More

Proud to be who I am!

If you could live a thousand years as yourself, never having to worry about looking over your shoulder, hiding or being found out, what would that be like for you? If you lived a thousand years always looking over your shoulder, doubting and worrying about what you say, how you say it, trying to remember what you said last time or the next, what would that be like for you?

By the time I finished university in 1997 I was certain of 2 things; that I was definitely coming back home to Kenya to live and that I was gay. I actually knew I was gay much earlier and had redesigned my life to fit into a life I knew for certain would be hard, difficult and secretive. But something was to change when I got home, and I never would have thought home, Kenya, would be where I would make my peace, be myself as a gay man. I always thought it would be in the ‘west’ where I would be comfortable and ‘at home’ and proud of myself. More

Pride and Pre-juices

I have attended some gay pride events over the years – Atlanta, Amsterdam, Brighton, London, Tel Aviv and Miami. In all of them I saw people of different shapes and sizes, in different colourful costumes. There were some fashion “do’s” and “don’t’s”, some cover girls and some “Please cover-up girls” but it’s all about perception.  One thing I found in common at these events, was that the people were happy!! And they brought smiles to the faces of thousands of onlookers.

It is very difficult to imagine that just over two decades ago, Gay pride events were near sombre occasions. Now it’s a carnival and I thank and respect the pioneering gay activists who made the sacrifice and paved the way for the present situation. Like the moderator said, Pride means a lot of things to different people and to me it means F-U-N. More

Pride – an affirmation of same gender love and sexual identity

I believe that Gay Pride Celebrations are still relevant today and will not be an out-dated concept until there is true equality and one’s sexual preference and identity does not matter; and one’s sexual identity becomes irrelevant to how people with their various lenses view one another. In my opinion, this will not occur sometime soon.

Gay Pride Celebrations mean different things to different people. Perhaps for those out of the closet (openly gay), it is an affirmation of same gender love and sexual identity; and a time to hold one’s head up high and with pride. A time to openly tell the world, this is who I am and I proud to be exactly the way I am – same gender loving – GAY. I am using the word ‘GAY’ to also mean lesbian, bisexual, and transsexual. Gay Pride Celebrations obviously plays an important on-going highlight and affirmation in some people’s lives and enables them to truly express who they are – a carnival of open festivities for the world to see, literally. More

Pride & Shame

As the streets of central London celebrate Gay Pride, I find myself reflecting on the relationship between Pride and Shame. I have come to understand that both are different sides of the same coin. Pride, being the light and Shame, the shadow. We all know it’s impossible to have one without the other. To deny the existence of Shame is like denying night will not come after daytime departs; to pretend that winter will not come, because it was a glorious summer.

Our human experience means that we are caught up in a lifetime of duality – the presence of ‘good’ means that there is ‘bad’. Something being ‘wrong’ means that somewhere, something is ‘right’. I am gradually learning that in order to stand authentically with Pride, it is important for me to acknowledge, uncover and meet the Shame. More

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