Wrapped in rainbow flags, dozens of South Africans celebrated delight on Saturday inside the historic black township of Soweto, and the end of an in particular harsh coronavirus third wave for their network.
The pandemic amplified challenges confronted via LGBTI people in the united states by using forcing them to stay at home with families or groups that failed to constantly take delivery of their identification.
"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," said one of the event's organizers, Siphokazi Nombande, 42.
"People are still being killed. People don't understand that LGBTI people exist… and therefore they want to change them because of who they love."
Given the extra pressure of the pandemic, Nombande said, it become a lift for the LGTBI network to have the metropolis of Johannesburg assist sponsor the seventeenth annual Soweto satisfaction, an area fairly symbolic of battle inside the young democracy.
"We still even witness issues of homophobia within our families, you can't even come out to your family. How do you come out to the world out there when you can't even come out to your family," said Tshepiso Leeu, 32, a registered nurse.
South Africans at Soweto Pride 2021. Image: Twitter
"So we still have a long way to go before we get to where we can say it is safe to be LGBTI or queer and out, most importantly, in our communities."
Fear of discrimination is the reason Kagiso Sebetlela didn't pop out as transgender until 2019.
"Most of my friends, I am thinking they will reject me for who I am and my sexuality," the 39-year-old said.
However, Sebetlela stated circle of relatives and friends have been accepting.
"I live once, not twice," they said. "Why should I have to hide?"
The celebrations were scaled down due to Covid-19 restrictions, however spirits have been high. notwithstanding the uncertainty the network faces, Leeu stated there has been lots to have fun.
"We matter. Our artists matter, our creativity matters, our talents matter, our work matters. We are also contributors to society so such events really make me feel proud," she said.