Wrapped in rainbow flags, the LGBTQI+ community celebrated Pride in Soweto after intense lockdown restrictions during the third wave.
By Imaan Voterson (News Editor)
On Saturday, September 25th, hundreds of South Africans took to the streets to celebrate Pride in Soweto after a ruthless third wave within their community, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The current pandemic forced members of the LGBTQIA+ community within the country to stay home with their families and friends who refused to accept their identities and sexualities.
According to News24, one of the event organisers, Siphokazi Nombande, said that there has been an increase in cases of discrimination and mental health issues due to families not accepting their relatives when they come out.
“Now we’ve got more (discrimination) cases, more mental health issues because now they need to deal with this family that does not necessarily accept them.”
A member of the LGBTQIA+ community who took part in the celebrations said that he has been dealing with mental health issues ever since he came out: “I knew once I came out my family wouldn’t accept me but at the same time, I just thought they would get over it. But this was not the case because they were too embarrassed to be seen with me and treated me like the odd one out which took a toll on my mental health.”
He also said that the Soweto Pride celebrations were part of the few times where he felt free and accepted since he came out.
The City of Joburg said on Twitter that they stand by the LGBTQIA+ community, stating that they aim to provide a safer space for LGBTQIA+ people, where they can exercise their freedom and become visible within the community they exist in.