CAPE TOWN – On 20 June, LoAnn Halden, Vice President of Communications for the International LGBTQ+ Travel Association, moderated an EQUAL Africa, part of Africa Travel Week, webinar on unpacking the importance of Pride events as drivers of tourism and change, especially in the African context.
The webinar’s esteemed panellists included Aisha Shaibu-Lenoir, Queer Activist, Cultural Producer and Founder of Moonlight Experiences; Michael Gladwin, Founder of Afrigay Travel and AllStay LGBTQ+ Education; Rodney Otieno, Co-Founder and Director of Policy Development and Membership for the Queer and Allied Chamber of Commerce Africa; and Nonhlanhla ‘MC’ Mkhize Co-Founder and Executive Director of The Lesbian and Gay Community and Health Centre.
The panellists explored various crucial topics within the LGBTQ+ community, including how Pride events provide that push for countries – and the governments and businesses operating within them – to fully embrace the idea of inclusivity instead of ‘pinkwashing’ once a year in June.
“Pride events, like Durban Pride, are selling the concept of pride as not just a one-day activity, but a year-long campaign and investment,” said Mkhize.
“It’s really important to think beyond the concept of ‘we welcome everyone’. We need to understand why we need to be inclusive and how we need to be inclusive – what we need to do in order to become truly inclusive. We can’t just say we are. We need to action it,” added Gladwin.
The panellists also highlighted the importance of allies in the fight for change, addressing how there’s often a ‘fear factor’ at play amongst many individuals, organisations, and business owners who wish to support the community.
“LGBTQ is a very complex community, and sometimes people get scared. ‘What if I say something wrong? What if I mess up the acronym? Or what if I say something that offends you?’ That fear, again, goes back to education. We need to have open conversations with people who are open to being our allies but don’t understand how to come into our world,” Otieno commented.
Despite the many concerns in countries like Uganda at the moment, it’s true that Africa has taken many great strides towards inclusivity, and each panellist is hopeful for continued
progress across the continent in the future. Gladwin noted how much work is being done to bring the World Pride 2028 event and InterPride 2024 Annual General Meeting & World Conference to Cape Town, often seen as Africa’s LGBTQ+ beacon of hope.
“We need to create a global conversation, find the gaps, and find the solutions. Let the conversation begin in Cape Town,” he said.
Shaibu-Lenoir concluded the webinar by reminding everyone of the foundation of these Pride events.
“Anyone who wants to be an authentic ally must understand that queerness has always been political. Pride, in its foundation, is a protest. That needs to lead the way in Africa like it has in so many other countries. Pride is also a wondrous celebration, but we mustn’t forget that, at its core, it’s about change. Things can get better.”
Interested parties who would like to watch the webinar can click here.
Issued by: Big Ambitions
Contact: Dorine Reinstein
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World Travel Market (WTM) Portfolio comprises leading travel events, online portals and virtual platforms across four continents. The events are:
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Next event: Monday 3 to Wednesday 5 April 2023 – Expo Center Norte, São Paulo, Brazil http://latinamerica.wtm.com/
WTM Africa launched in 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa under the Africa Travel Week umbrella. In 2022, WTM Africa facilitated more than 7 thousand unique pre-scheduled appointments, an increase of more than 7% compared to 2019 and welcomed more than 6 thousand visitors (unaudited), the same number as in 2019.
Next event: Monday 3 to Wednesday 5 April 2023 – Cape Town International Convention Centre, Cape Town http://africa.wtm.com/
About ATW Connect: Africa Travel Week’s digital arm, is a virtual hub packed to the seams with interesting content, industry news and insights, and the opportunity to hear from experts on a variety of topics in our new monthly webinar series. All with the aim to keep all of us in the travel and tourism industry connected. ATW Connect focuses on inbound and outbound markets for general leisure tourism, luxury travel, LGBTQ+ travel and the MICE/business travel sector as well as travel technology. https://atwconnect.com/
Arabian Travel Market (ATM), now on its 30th year, is the leading, international travel and tourism event in the Middle East for inbound and outbound tourism professionals. Arabian Travel Market is part of Arabian Travel Week. #IdeasArriveHere
Next event: Monday 1 to Thursday 4 May 2023, Dubai World Trade Centre, Dubai https://www.wtm.com/atm/en-gb.html
Arabian Travel Week is a is a 10-day long festival of events taking place within and alongside Arabian Travel Market 2023. Providing a renewed focus for the Middle East’s travel and tourism sector, it includes the live ATM exhibition, ILTM Arabia, ARIVAL Dubai, Influencers’ events and activations, as well as Travel Forward. It also features the ATM Buyer Forums, ATM Speed Networking Events as well as Business Traveller Africa Awards 2023.
Arabian Travel Week takes place from 1 – 10 May 2023 https://www.wtm.com/arabian-travel-week/en-gb.html
WTM London, the leading global event for the travel industry, is the must-attend three-day exhibition for the worldwide travel and tourism industry. The show facilitates business connections for the global (leisure) travel community. Senior travel industry professionals, government ministers and international media visit ExCeL London every November, generating travel industry contracts.
Next live event: Monday 6-8 November 2023 at ExCel London http://london.wtm.com/
WTM Global Hub, is the new WTM Portfolio online portal created to connect and support travel industry professionals around the world. The resource hub offers the latest guidance and knowledge to help exhibitors, buyers and others in the travel industry face the challenges of the global coronavirus pandemic. WTM Portfolio is tapping into its global network of experts to create content for the hub. https://hub.wtm.com/
About RX (Reed Exhibitions)
RX is in the business of building businesses for individuals, communities and organisations. We elevate the power of face to face events by combining data and digital products to help customers learn about markets, source products and complete transactions at approximately 400 events in 22 countries across 42 industry sectors. RX is passionate about making a positive impact on society and is fully committed to creating an inclusive work environment for all our people. RX is part of RELX, a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers. www.rxglobal.com
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