At 8:00am on June 30th, the Kingdom of Eswatini will host its first Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex (LGBTI) Pride celebration at Prince of Wales Stadium in Mbabane.
In the run-up to this historic event, a number of articles have been published in national newspapers condemning LGBTI people and comparing us to "paedophlia" and "beastiality." One full-paged Letter to the Editor of The Observer on Sunday, June 24th (found here) claimed that the "homosexual lifestyle" was "disease-ridden," and that homosexuality was not a human right. The writers of these articles have also claimed that "smaller developing countries are being pressured by donor countries to accept homosexuality."
We at Rock of Hope (the organizers of this year's Pride) freely acknowledge that we have received support from international donors to further our cause, namely health promotion programming (access to health services is a human right) for Key Populations and to plan this year's Pride event. However, we need to be clear: Pride was OUR idea, and we as EmaSwati are proud members of the local LGBTI community and allies. There are no foreign groups pressuring us. The agenda OURS.
To decisively demonstrate the local commitment of EmaSwati to advancing our LGBTI rights, it is imperative that we invest now, locally, in the future our Movement.
We at Rock of Hope are therefore asking you, our fellow EmaSwati LGBTIs and allies, to donate to our shared future. Together, we can build an unstoppable Movement of love and acceptance that will transform our Kingdom long after the excitement of our first Pride fades.
Here are three ways you can help make sure our Movement is sustained into the future:
- Call/WhatsApp/Facebook/Tweet everyone you know and ask them to support you by showing up to Pride on Saturday, June 30th at 9am at Prince of Wales Stadium in Mbabane.
- Convince everyone you know who is invested in our Movement's future to donate whatever they can on this website or in person at Pride.
- Recruit everyone you speak with to connect with at least 20 people and convince them to come to Pride and to donate to the cause!
We are one family. Let's prove once and for all that we are here, we are queer, and we are not going anywhere!