LGBT activists in Lesotho made history on the International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia 2013, by organising the country’s first ever pride march. This was a hugely significant act given the official criminalization of same sex relationships between men, the social stigma attached to being LGBT, and the country’s status as having the third highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in the world. Aside from the march, activists also organised a film screening and series of talks, held in a cinema in the centre of the capital, Maseru.
The Pride March was organised by Matrix Support Group, based in Maseru, Lesotho, and took place on Saturday May 18:
The Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) reports: ‘The banner at the front of the procession proclaims loudly and clearly what this is all about – ‘International Anti-Homophobia and Transphobia Day’. It is Saturday the 18th of May 2013 and today, this small, colourful group is making history – this is Lesotho’s first-ever gay pride march.
The event has been organised by MATRIX Support Group – a Lesotho-based NGO working to advocate for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) individuals in the country. The organisation, which only received legal recognition in 2010, is – like this year’s parade – the first of its kind in Lesotho.’
Activists also held a film screening and series of talks for IDAHOT 2013
LGBT community leaders spoke out about violence, and led the audience in prayer, and rainbow banners decorated the Cinema, where the event was held.
The events for this year were also highly significant given the legal, and public health, context in which LGBT communities live. As OSISA explains,
For more information log onto:
- Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa: Small march is a big step for LGBTI in Lesotho
- Matrix Support Group on facebook.