From Ankara to Zagreb, we descend on the streets in droves. Our coming out on to the streets differs: Some of us waving our huge rainbow flags, some of us hiding our faces, some of us protected by the police, some of us needing protection from the police, some of us accompanied by an audience supporting our every step and some of us with people gunning to kill us. What unites all of us is a need to be represented, to be seen, to celebrate, to protest and to find community.
For the LGBTQ+ Ethiopians whose homes are always by default located on the margins of Ethiopian society, we have had to give Pride new meanings. Hiding but yet visible, fearing but yet finding courage and always already creating safe spaces. We have learned that Pride is not an event, even as some try to find ways to celebrate it in a visible manner. What does Pride mean for Ethiopians who would be signing their death warrants if they were ever to come out to the streets waving a rainbow flag and showing our pride?
This is exactly what we explore in our second issue of Nisnis, scheduled to be released soon.
What does Pride mean? For those that have had an opportunity to attend one, what was it like? Can Pride be defined in a more expansive manner? Do we envision a Pride event ever happening in Ethiopia? Is a Pride event even important or relevant to us?
These are just a few of the issues that are raised in our Pride issue. We found it exhilarating to talk to so many Ethiopian LBTQ people both in Ethiopia and in the diaspora and were encouraged by the engaging conversations that resulted.
Ethiopian society might have succeeded in forcing us into the closet and in keeping us there, but it has been inspiring to see the level of resistance and agency that so many exhibit. Even in the face of so much risk, our Pride in who we are continues to shine.
We hope you are as excited to read the second issue as we have been to publish it. We look forward to sharing it with you!
(You can download the first issue of Nisnis here – Amharic and English).