The celebration of World Pride is currently taking place in Copenhagen, Denmark, and Malmö, Sweden. RFSL spoke to a few activists in our network who, despite risks, continue to work for LGBTQI people’s rights in countries where discrimination and threats are widespread. We asked what World Pride means to them.
Tara and Mattel, Indonesia
Tara and Mattel is a lesbian couple from Indonesia. They fell in love 18 years ago but decided to separate and continue their lives heteronormative. But in 2018, they found the courage to follow their hearts and reached out to each other again. Tara and Mattel have been living together ever since.
“To us, World Pride is the moment when you celebrate your authentic self. Learning to show the world your true colors. Pride is about standing together, united, lifting each other up, and being there for each other,” said Tara and Mattel.
Vuk is an LGBTQI activist from Serbia and an alumni from RFSL:s Rainbow Advocacy Programme. The programme is a 13-month-long fellowship for LGBTQI activists to affect change at home through UN advocacy. Vuk, who completed the programme in 2020, is currently in Copenhagen to participate in World Pride.
“World Pride is of immense importance because it sends a strong message to everyone around the globe through a united voice of the LGBTQI+ communities. The voice that stands firmly in the requests to decriminalise love, end all forms of discrimination and fully respect the diversity of different identities. The voice that says no to hatred and violence. The voice that resists all inequalities. The voice that leaves no one behind!,” said Vuk.
Fallaq is an Indonesian LGBTQI activist who for a long time has fought for equal rights for all. The work is carried out in a country where legal protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation or identity does not exist.
“World pride is not just about fighting oppression and discrimination. World pride is when I can, and have the right to, be myself. And love anyone without any insult because we should be treated equally,” said Fallaq.
Shoger is an Armenian LGBTQI activist working for RFSL:s partner organisation Pink – an organisation that works to protect LGBTQI people’s human rights in Armenia. Shoger is one of several international guests who is attending this year’s World Pride.
“WorldPride means to show up and let go of fear, even if temporarily. It serves as a reminder that there is still a lot that needs to be done, which will only be possible through supporting one another. Most importantly, World Pride means to love and be there for each other,” said Shogher.
Rhadem is an indigenous Muslim filmmaker and a human rights activist in the south of the Philippines. This year, Rhadem is attending World Pride to represent both his country and the unsung stories of the indigenous and Muslim LGBT+ that are rarely being given voice in the LGBT Movement in the Philippines.
“World Pride for me is not only a celebration of our solidarity and existence but also a symbol of our strength as a community, that in spite of our differences in faith, gender and socio-cultural background, we have all come together as one and EQUAL,” said Rhadem.
All of RFSL:s seminars at World Pride can be found here.
RFSL has worked in Indonesia for more than ten years – read more here.
Would you like to know more about RFSL:s work globally? Click here.
Read more about our Rainbow Advocacy Programme here.