Is There a Pride Month in Naija?
Who's tired of all the violence and negativity in the news? We're in this together and we're all doing our best. So, don't hesitate to take some time off and focus on something more pleasant.
Some days ago, I heard someone ask whether Nigeria has a Pride month; a month set aside to celebrate Pride in Nigeria. My immediate reaction was "of course we do!". But do we? Really?
I'm sure many people are wondering about the same thing. So, today I will provide my insight on what Pride Month means - its history and whether we have a Pride Month in Nigeria.
The Stonewall Inn was a gay bar in New York City's Greenwich Village neighborhood where community members met regularly away from the prying eyes of the public since homosexuality was still criminalized at the time. The bar was a target of regular police raids, just like what we have happening in Nigeria where the police raid private parties and make random arrests.
On June 28, 1969, (51 years ago) the New York City Police raided the Stonewall bar and community members revolted against the injustice meted on them. They burned police cars and riots started. This is what is now called the Stonewall Riots. The next year, community members marched to the site of the riots demanding for LGBTQ rights and asking the police to stop human rights abuses of LGBTQ people. It was this march that gave birth to what is now globally celebrated as Pride parades, and subsequently, Pride Month, while June 28 is now celebrated as Pride Day.
You're probably asking why America gets to set the tone and dates for these things. I have the same reservation too. I've asked myself this same question many times. I've realized that it is the people who have the power(financial and otherwise) that set the tone for what are believed to be global events.
However, over time, many countries (and cities) set aside other days that are not in June to celebrate with Pride marches and other events around it. For example, I attended Johannesburg Pride in October of 2018. Of course, we in Nigeria, have never held such a march before so I can understand if some people cannot relate. And that brings me to the question of whether or not there is a Pride month in Nigeria.
The truth is that there is no day or month set aside specifically in Nigeria, by Nigerians to celebrate Pride; it goes without saying, then, that there is no Pride Month for Nigeria by Nigerians. Instead, we key into the global marking of the month and day. Perhaps, this is what the person who asked that question meant.
So does this mean we should not celebrate Pride Month? My opinion is that keying into global celebrations of Pride month is a major opportunity for us in Nigeria to connect our struggles with the struggles of communities around the world and to demand equal rights and protection under the law. When we join our voices together, we are louder than we could ever be as individuals.
Furthermore, it won't be a bad idea if we, as a movement, agree on a particular day or month to mark and celebrate significant days in the history of LGBTQ rights in Nigeria. I don't know if we have such dates or a date yet, but perhaps it is something for all of us to think about as we look forward.
For now, because we do not have a date set aside specifically for us and by us doesn't mean we cannot show our Pride by wearing clothes made for us and by us, abi?
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Till next time,
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