Queer festivals, queer stokvels, pride parades, pride marches, call it what you will, but the season to “protest and celebrate” as a community or collective has arrived once more. Yeah no need to even remind me, I know that some of us if not most have at one point or another used Pride as a ‘hook-up space’ with some of us even getting married with lovers we met at Pride.
Lest we forget how far we have come. It was in 1990 that the first Pride March took place in Johannesburg, and we have celebrated and commemorated this day in earnest, year upon year since then with the numbers of pride-goers swelling and multiplying with each year.
It is a form of expression that hasn’t lost its relevance. Its relevance is still palpable because there is still a need to present ourselves in the spaces that ordinarily shun our queer bodies. Before we go on any further, have any of you ever wondered what keeps sending us back to Pride over and over again, yeah some people have only done a couple or even no Pride at all but almost every queer body knows and has heard about Pride. The big question then becomes: what does pride truly mean to each of us? Does the existence of numerous pride marches give a glimpse of the varying ways in which we choose to express how we celebrate or remember this unmissable day?
During the recent Soweto as well as Pretoria pride I ventured out and asked different people what being at Pride means to them, here is a glimpse into what some said:
“At First, I used to come here to celebrate the struggles we have all been through but lately I’m getting confused about which pride to attend because they are so many.”
“I feel safe when I march with many people who are like me, it’s like we are saying we are here in numbers and we belong here as well.”
“I’m not ashamed to say, for me it’s all about the fun and the turn-up, that’s why I’m here.”
“As an activist and feminist I come to the pride to celebrate our strides and reconnect with other activists and have a good time while at it, I like making a point of dressing up and looking good.”
“Hey come hell or high water I’ll always attend all the pride marches I can, I get inspired just by being here, you meet all sorts of happy people here and business deals take place here, I have had a few good opportunities from attending pride myself.”
Amidst all the pride festivities isn’t it worth slipping it into regular pride conversation how mindful one has to be of guzzling gallons without having taken some precautionary measures of some sort. Its usually advisable to drink a fair amount of liquids, non-alcoholic at this point I must add, eat right, a protein high meal before a wild turn-up weekend, this way I’m told you avoid getting a hellish hangover the next day. For whatever reason you celebrate Pride, be proud of who you are and let your true colours shine through 24/7.