The end of June 1969 heralded the start of something that would go on to change the world for many. Police raids at a gay club in Manhattan, the Stonewall Inn, inspired protests that brought a whole new generation of LGBTIQ+ activists to the fore. That’s why June is Pride Month in many countries, including ours. Those letters (they stand for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer) aren’t just alphabet soup: they represent millions of people whose sexualities and gender expressions are still targeted by hate groups today. South Africa has a lot to be proud of, on paper; our Constitution protects the LGBTIQ+ community, and we were one of the first countries in the world to legalise same-sex unions. Many people live open, honest lives and are free to do so in our democracy. Our most popular pageant, Miss South Africa, has even finally opened entries to transgender women.
But there’s a lot of work still to do: as Mamba Online reported, there’s been a wave of homophobic murders across SA in recent months. So, while we encourage you to wave your rainbow flag in honour of Pride month, don’t forget to speak up, demand better from leaders, police and communities, and be a true ally. 🏳️🌈
This article appeared as part of The Wrap, 15 April 2021. Sign up to receive our weekly updates