Getting closer to an inclusive future

Participants of the Pride Celebration last Saturday. | Supplied

Participants of the Pride Celebration last Saturday. | Supplied

Published Jul 4, 2024


Durban — After a successful Pride month celebration this past weekend, the LGBTQI+ community said it was looking forward to an inclusive future.

Hlengiwe Buthelezi, chairperson of KZN LGBT Recreation, which promotes inclusion in arts and culture, said the event that took place on Saturday was a huge success.

Buthelezi said people came from across the country to celebrate with them.

She said the community had come a long way in fighting for equal rights and such events were a reminder of the progress made.

“It is a very important day to commemorate our existence, celebrate life. Most importantly to live life comfortably even though we go through so much homophobia each day from people around us,” said Buthelezi.

A civil union was not legally equal to a marriage between straight couples, she said. The Green Paper on Marriages in South Africa called for one definition of marriage across the board.

“We want the same marriage for everyone. It is in the final stages of becoming law,” she said.

Furthermore, she said the appointment of Public Works and Infrastructure MEC Martin Meyer meant the LGBTQ community would be represented in the KZN legislature.

“Advocacy of gay and lesbian rights is the mainline politics of all of us irrespective of your political affiliation,” said Buthelezi.

Buthelezi said that pride went beyond race. She said it was important to understand that people were born gay and it was not a phase, or evil. She said that the LGBTQ community used to feel pressured to hide who they were, they used to be fired from work or disowned by their families when they came out as gay, and now enjoyed having rights.

“I am happy to see the younger generation enjoying these rights in my lifetime,” she said.

Nozipho Mjwara, who attended the event, said it was a great experience. She encouraged people to learn about the LGBTQ community and not to judge them. She said she wanted to return and learn more about others’ experiences and their challenges while inspiring each other to survive.

“I got to be in a space with other people who are living openly, which is not something that I see every day. It was an eye-opening event,” she said.

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