The Institutional Office for HIV and Aids (IOHA) at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) and partners, invited the Orange Army to join in celebrating Pride Month during the month of June with a virtual LGBTI+ Conference.
Due to COVID-19, the typical in-person, joyous celebrations that surround Pride Month, including LGBTi+ conference, adhered to the social distancing guidelines and moved the event to a virtual format.
Pride Month is celebrated each June to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York. The Stonewall Riots, led by transgender women of colour, were a catalyst for the early Gay Liberation Movement. Today, Pride celebrations continue to inspire celebration and action in the pursuit of social justice for LGBTQ+ people across the world.
“Pride has a deeply intersectional history, rooted in taking a stand against discrimination, celebrating diversity and solidarity, and speaking up for what’s right,” Rainny Nkhatho, UJ’s Head of Department: IOHA , said. “I think we have made significant progress over the past years, but we must remain grounded and reflect on many issues our community still faces even in the new world.”
This year’s Pride month was themed ‘mind-body-spirit’ and included a Safezones conference.
According to the Hate Crime against the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and [Intersex] (LGBT+) people in South Africa report, various LGBT+ individuals experience discrimination and hate crimes within different communities which include welfare institutions (2016). However, the data is not sufficient to support implementation of evidence-based intervention programs that seek to empower LGBT+ individuals and strengthen community institutions to provide competent services without any continuously victimizing individuals. Furthermore, various reports have shown how discrimination, stigma, and the lack of knowledge around LGBT+ hinder the adequate measure of implementing appropriate community services.