All around the world, June is a month for Queer veneration. It's also the month where we celebrate our inclusivity as a community of those who have felt oppressed for century-long. Pride as we know and call it entails a variety of moments both individually and collectively as a community. For us, it's a time to honor our past heroes like Marshall P. Johnson, whose activism and struggle was able to liberate a part of the world-wide community.
Last June, many of the annual parades and street parties that are normally held were postponed due to Covid-19, however that didn't stop queer folks all around the world from getting the spirit of pride.
This year's pride will be a certain mix of several things; of bliss and joy; of pain and suffering. I say this because of the part of world we all come from. Luckily, some queer folks in LGBTQ+ friendly country will march on the street to celebrate their personalities and happiness while queer folks in homophobic and anti-LGBTQ who have lived their realities hiding will have hope blooming in their hearts towards freedom and acceptability just as they are employing activism to fight for that right.
For Pride month, we've spoken to 10 Queer folks worldwide to talk about their experiences and what pride means to them.
Tamela Clover, Portland Oregon, USA. They/them.
I'm a genderqueer bisexual and polyamorous. For me pride is about fighting to be seen as equal while celebrating the hard-won victories we've achieved as a community. It's about feeling connected and knowing I'm not the only one. It's about being seen and saying to the world you will see me.
Aurora Moses, 20, South Africa. She/her.
Pride month to me means to celebrate my identity and love all of me. It also means to me not to hide my truth and to be myself loud and proud. It also means to me to stand up for equality for all the LGBTQIA+ citzens in South Africa. We are being killed in South Africa for who we are and although our constitution is progressive, we don't see it in our daily lives here in South Africa. I am starting this political party called POP to also stand up for all people rights and to strive for equality. Pride means to me to be YOURSELF without the fear of being killed or discriminated against. I haven't been to any Pride events but I have seen some videos on YouTube and it looks like a lot of fun.
Michelle Ganz, Houston Texas, USA
Pride is a rebellion of police brutality and our oppression by the government and heteronormative society. Pride is a rebellion in the streets, where we should be as queer as we dare to be. Pride is us pushing back and not taking it anymore. It is queer people refusing to be palatable. It commemorates the Stonewall Riots.
Jumapili Makena, Mombasa, Kenya. They/them.
I'm currently in Nairobi, pride is a moment of self-acceptance for me. I'm not just saying that because I haven't accepted myself. I have accepted myself a long time ago but pride always reminds me of renewing it. Being in a homophobic country, drains me as fuck. The bad system, the fervent catcalling and abuses rained on me for accepting myself and living my truth. Pride is a moment of rechecking my life and balancing a lot of things that feel awkward and absurd.
Kathleen Mahnke, California, USA. She/her.
Pride is a moment when I get to forget the hurt of people who hate my existence and party like our community is the whole world. I'm also reminded that love is what drives us and it's important that my life's purposes shouldn't be based on people's opinions on how to live my life.
Zeigan Laccret, Colombia/France
I’d say for me Pride month is about the celebration of diversity and the ongoing journey we have to achieve more rights and acceptance, although we may have differences and struggles that sometimes don’t let us connect the pride to be from the LGBTQ+ community is revolutionary.
Ashen Dilishe, 19, Sri Lanka. He/him.
Okay, so I’ve been hiding my sexuality for 18 years, till I came out to some of my friends last September. I’m from Sri Lanka, so basically our culture is very homophobic and traditional. Being gay is something really bad– some may even say it is a disease. But eventually I came out to my mom last February. She took some days to process it. But eventually accepted me for me. But also she strictly told me not to tell my dad because he might react completely differently. Pride in Sri Lanka is another thing, It’s illegal firstly. Secondly they don’t understand the whole LGBTQ+ spectrum. Like everyone who likes the same gender is identified as shemales. The new generation is completely different as far as I know. They are accepting and everything, but at the end of the day, they cant do anything about it because the people doesn’t have modern ideas and thoughts. Well, pride is something that is very important to every country. This is something to be taught in school and to be normalised. You must be proud of who you are.
Didiora Peniel, 23, Enugu, Nigeria. They/them
I was born in a deeply homophobic country that have tried to kill me soundless several times because I happen to be gay. As a queer Nigerian, I'm constantly reminded of protecting myself against sudden social oppressions. Pride is that one month I get to live like a complete human being, without having the thoughts of being an oppressed person. Pride is a way of healing myself from so many life's problems and embracing me more than ever.
Karam, 21, Algeria. He/him.
Well I'm a 21 years old boy from North Africa. I live in a Muslim homophobic country. It's never easy for me to express myself outside. I'm not able to look or date men without being super discreet. We can barely use dating apps any more since straight men are cat-fishing and hitting gay men from Grindr app and similar ones. Pride for me is a delusion, I only hear of it I can't march nor hold flags. I can't join hands or hug on the streets and in public, I can barely wear shorts outside. Pride is when we feel happy for the humans that can actually celebrate it, we feel happy for them for those who found love and have children; for those who get to be themselves without fearing about their lives. We feel happy for them and at the same time jealous.
Van Ethan, San Diego, CA, USA. They/them.
Pride is a painful word that is weaponised against my community to gaslight us to believing that we have the right to be who we are without any consequences and that we are safe to be proud. We are not free, we are not safe, we do not get to be who we are without consequences that often lead to death.
Pride is a time that is deeply painful to watch as those who hold privilege get to exist in a way that many of do not. A reminder that our pain, deaths, murders, rapes, violence and so much more go another moment without awareness to these realities and/or change.
Pride to me is about the work that we do to create safer and more affirming spaces to others where we all get to e safer and free, not just some of us. Until all my community members are liberated, I will not be proud. Yeah, I have attended a pride event. It's horrible. It's filled with a bunch of white cis-het able bodied people. A bunch of people capitalising off our community. Sexual violence, emotional violence, verbal violence