In the last week of June, LGBT activists in Swaziland hope to make history by holding the African country’s first ever Pride march and festival, reports Tim Temman for The Daily Breast.
Advocacy group The Rock of Hope told The Daily Beast it is in the process of submitting an application to march and then hold a picnic or gathering in a park in the city of Mbabne.
If it goes ahead, the history-making event will take place around the same time as many other Prides around the world, marking the anniversary of New York City’s Stonewall riots of 1969.
Male homosexuality is outlawed in the southern African country. An anti-sodomy law is still on the statute books, a British-rule hangover. LGBT couples cannot marry or adopt children.
Swaziland is Africa’s last absolute monarchy, ruled by King Mswati III, who has reportedly described homosexuality as “satanic.” Prime Minister Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini has described homosexuality as “an abnormality and a sickness.”
There are no LGBT bars or LGBT-specific gathering places in the country. The June event would be the first time LGBT people gathered together en masse.
“This first event is small scale, but we cannot hide forever,” Melusi S. Simelane, communications manager for The Rock of Hope, told The Daily Beast. “We cannot do advocacy if we are not visible. One of the key aspects of any form of advocacy is ensuring visibility: to say, ‘We are here, we exist.