Written by Anne Philpott, Founder and Co-Director of The Pleasure Project, and Amanda Kamanda, researcher, transgender activist, and intern at The Pleasure Project
On July 2nd, the ‘Pride in London’ march and festival drew more than a million people to celebrate the diversity and advancements of the LGBTQI communities in the UK. It was a special year for this annual festival, marking the 50th anniversary of the first UK Gay Pride Rally and of course an ability to celebrate after COVID 19. The first London Pride was held on July 1st 1972, as an anniversary to the Stonewall riots.
The Pleasure Project attended with immense joy and celebrated how pleasure is critical as a lens for sexual orientation and diversity. We know a Pleasure hierarchy exists with those discriminated against challenged by more sex negativity, stigma, and shame when they want to live and love in a fulfilling and joyful way. We articulate this in #BeUniversal our Pleasure Principle that shows us that every human has the capacity to experience sexual pleasure if they wish. A pleasure-inclusive world supports people in safely having and expressing sexual pleasure while recognizing that sexual pleasure is different for everyone.
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Amanda Kamanda works with us as a researcher, transgender activist, and intern, and this is her account of attending her first Pride in London.
‘My name is Amanda Bosco from Uganda, and I am in the UK pursuing a postgraduate degree in international development, social justice, and sustainability at the University of Bath. The experience for me was something new considering that the background of my home country, Uganda, is very homophobic and transphobic with limited freedom of expression for LGBTIQ persons. Our human rights are constantly violated with discrimination in accessing basic services such as education, health care, employment, housing, and justice. Same sex relations in Uganda are criminalized with a penalty of seven years in prison under the penal code.
Moving to the UK gave me an opportunity to witness my first ever Pride. The diversity of representation and inclusion of various stakeholders such as private companies, civil servants, service providers and advocates for equality was evident during the March. In relation to pleasure, it was the freedom to experience same sex love and affection without stigma and judgement but also the visibility in creating awareness of our existence as a community in the world. Colors, rainbows, drag, vogue, and all other queer forms of culture. I look forward to seeing a moment like this in Uganda where we can experience pleasure for LGBTIQ persons without persecution from the State.’
Please note that blog posts are not peer-reviewed and do not necessarily reflect the views of SRHM as an organisation.