Jo'burg Pride organisers calls it a day for LGBTI parade

The popular Jo'burg Pride parade will not happen this year as organisers have chosen to end the event. (Gallo)

The popular Jo'burg Pride parade will not happen this year as organisers have chosen to end the event. (Gallo)

The parade ran for seven years and attracted crowds of more than 20 000, according to Jo'burg Gay Pride Festival Company board member Samantha Durkin.

Fellow board member Fulvio De Stefanis lists a number of issues that influenced the decision to end the popular lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) pride festival.

These include the loss of the Zoo Lake Sports Club as a venue due to security risks, the loss of support from the South African Police Service as well as two local ward councillors.

"The interruption of last year's Joburg Pride march by the activist group One in Nine was also a factor in our reasoning," admits De Stefanis.

"One in Nine's unfortunate interruption of Pride 2012 shifted the event from a low-risk event into a high-risk category, which would negatively impact on our operational structures and budgets going forward.

It provided great short-term publicity for One in Nine, but created far-reaching negative publicity for Jo'burg Pride.

It's ironic, as we agreed with their message – but not their medium, as it obviously negated our work over the past seven years, while providing a hint of potential operational and security risks – something we've always been prepared for, but never had to previously deal with on such a scale."

Jo'burg Pride 2012 was disrupted when 20 members of the One in Nine campaign attempted to stop the festival and demand a minute of silence to remember those who had been killed because of their sexual orientation and gender expression.

During the event, Jo'burg Pride board Jenny Green was filmed pushing a One in Nine protester to the ground, then hoisting her into those sitting on the road. Organisers of the event claimed that the protesters had not asked the required permission to stage a demonstration and were creating a security risk by blocking the parade.

Jo'burg Pride was criticised by One in Nine for not being inclusive of the entire LGBTI community. Pride was criticised in particular for failing to address the issue of hate crimes and instances of corrective rape against black lesbians in a year in which at least eight black LGBTI people were killed.

The event wast further criticised for becoming a sponsor-driven party instead of movement with a social justice or LGBTI-rights political agenda.

One in Nine issued a call for corporations to boycott depoliticised Pride events and "pink-washing". They called on all LGBTI movements in South Africa and friends around the world to boycott Jo'burg Gay Pride.


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