South Africa’s Gay Flag flies in London, amidst the threat of revocation of equality and heightened violence precipitated by homophobia
By Melanie Nathan, July 08, 2012.
LONDON- More than 250000 people turned out to celebrate World Pride 2012 in London last Saturday (7 July) and marching in the crowd was The Gay Flag of South Africa, alongside veterans of the 1972 Baker Street march.
The walk through central London, passed on the integral theme that homosexuality should be decriminalized worldwide and homophobia should end. The event marks 40 years since the first gay pride march in the capital, attended by less than 700 people.
Although the official party had been axed, the streets of Soho were packed with party goers, celebrating this event. The World Pride hub in Trafalgar Square featured performances from gay icon Boy George, Corey Hart and headliner Deborah Cox.
Speakers at Trafalgar Square included Simon Hughes, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats. He used his appearance to confirm his personal support of same-sex marriage, before adding: “It’s a pledge of my party and it’s a pledge of this government,” resulting in loud cheers from the crowd.
“World Pride is both a celebration of the progress that has been won for equality but also message to those governments and individuals who hate, that we are united as global brothers and sisters.
Whilst, we mourn a month of seven horrendous homophobic murders that has shaken the South African LGBTI community, it is comforting to know that we are forming closer bonds as a global LGBTI community”, said Eugene Brockman from the Gay Flag of South Africa (GFSA).
The South African Constitutional Review Committee is currently entertaining a proposal from the House of Traditional Leaders to scrap “sexual orientation” section from the bill of rights contained in Chapter 2 of the Constitution of South Africa. Members of world Pride were disgusted at learning that the South African parliament has been lackluster in responding to a memorandum handed to Mr. K Mansura, acting secretary to the national assembly by the South African Constitution Protection Coalition, after a nationwide LGBTI protest on June 19th, 2012 that brought vast groups of LGBTI activists and NGO’s together as one voice for the first time since our democracy.
“The anti gay violence in South Africa must be addressed in the same way racism was addressed – with zero tolerance, or else it just highlights that you are mere hypocrites with no innate love and respect for the human race and the planet we all share.” said Shaun-Robert Weldon. GFSA Ambassador in London.
With the South African Gay Flag seen by crowds and in the hope that accompanying articles are written, perhaps the World will start asking for accountability from the South African government, which provided so much promise when it’s severed institutionalized bigotry with its all inclusive constitution. After all it was a promise not only to South Africans but also to the world at large, which contributed through so much international pressure and support to the decimation of apartheid.
Melanie Nathan is the founding director of Private Courts Inc, a mediation, LGBTI equality and human rights advocacy firm based in San Francisco. She publishes oblogdeeoblogda.me and is co-producing Gay USA: the Movie. Follow her on Twitter here.
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