HOW can we COLOR OUR WORLD WITH PRIDE without our WORLD by our side?
Criminalizing Homosexuality in Africa –
Will not stop our us marching at San Francisco Pride 2014
SAN FRANCISCO – MAY 31, 2014 – Melanie Nathan, a San Francisco Pride Community Grand Marshal, has started a campaign to bring approximately 20 LGBTI people to march with her, in the San Francisco Pride Parade, 2014. The invited guests are from Uganda, The Gambia, Angola, South Africa, Cameroon, Namibia and Nigeria.
Nathan, a South African born attorney, U.S. citizen and founder of Private Courts, a global human rights advocacy firm, is advocating for the visas and asking the U.S. and international LGBT community to donate monies for visas, air tickets, transportation, accommodations and stipends for the guests.
A United States Senator has agreed to provide case support for the visas and a well known foundation has indicated it will come up with funds for the endeavor if matching funds can be obtained. Nathan has just secured a well known organization to house the project. A further announcement will be made next week. In the meantime she has started an Indiegogo campaign as time is critically short to secure visas and funding.
Recently Sweden denied workshop visas and Canada denied the LGBT WORLDPRIDE event visas to African applicants, citing the new anti-Homosexuality laws as a reason, noting that LGBT people should not be admitted because they would be unlikely to return to their home countries.
Addressing this issue directly, Melanie Nathan notes: “I say that by doing this Canada and Sweden are complicit in the further persecution and discrimination of LGBTI criminalized Africans. By excluding LGBT Africans from participating and being part of their LGBT Global community, Sweden and Canada are nodding their heads at the harsh Anti-Homosexuality laws. I find this stance reprehensible. We must give all LGBTI people visas. What they decide to do thereafter is their choice. By not granting visas, Sweden and Canada are further silencing these hidden voices. LGBT Africa must be heard – and must be allowed to speak for themselves – and cannot speak out in their own countries. I would hope the United States takes a bold stance and does the right thing.”
Please make your voice heard by reading, participating and contributing even $5 to make the critical statement: “DO NOT Criminalize LGBTI people Globally just because they are criminalized in their own country!” We are the voice for all LGBTI people around the world. – not just for ourselves.
You live in a country where being gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or intersex (LGBTI) is unacceptable and not tolerated, to such a radical extent, that it has life or death consequences. If you are gay (includes all LGBTI) you can be imprisoned for life.
If your parents, friends, employers, landlords, teachers, suspect or discover you are gay– you are banished, disowned, fired and evicted– and worse yet, you are attacked by mobs, assaulted, tortured, blackmailed or handed over to the authorities to face up to life in prison.
Your life is over! Simply because of who you are.
You are spat on, beaten, ridiculed, called Satan – even the local church and village elders have abandoned you – and your government deems you a criminal – you have nowhere to turn. You are likely to be on the streets – often alone.
Not only is it difficult to be proud – but you feel worthless – there is truly nowhere to turn and you ask – “am I better off dead?”
From here in the USA we say – no – please hold on – stay strong – stay safe – there is a world out there where people do accept you and where you can love and be loved!
And now you have found some hope… an extraordinary opportunity… to participate in Pride – in a friendly non-hostile environment. One of the most stunning Pride celebrations in the world.
Enter San Francisco Pride 2014 and a theme that not only embraces you – it beckons you – a theme that says we want you – we love you – we are one – it is a moment in time to “COLOR OUR WORLD WITH PRIDE.”
If you could be there it could change your life or simply how you feel about life. And when you meet the people there – on that foreign shore, LGBTI, just like you – they too have so much they want to learn from you – you have a lot to share. Together we can be proud and change the world.
My name is Melanie Nathan, a human rights advocate, appointed a Community Grand Marshal by the San Francisco Pride Board, for the San Francisco Pride Parade 2014. This is not only a great honor but a critical opportunity for human rights advocacy as this year’s theme “Color Our World With Pride,” expounds the platform – decriminalize homosexuality – human sexuality is a basic human right.”
The Project and How you Can Help:
San Francisco Pride has asked me to march with a contingent of up to 100 people. I have invited LGBTI people from Uganda, Nigeria, The Gambia, Cameroon, South Africa, Angola, Zimbabwe and Namibia to join me in the parade, bearing their country flags, organizational banners, or wearing rainbow masks, to attend numerous Pride events and to participate in a dialogue at a town hall forum about homophobia in Africa and what LGBTI people in the global community can do to help.
Now I need your help to fund travel and visas and we need to act quickly!
We need to cover 20 VISA applications with the first $3,600 and we must do it no later than June 05, 2014. We have a U.S.A. Senator at the ready to support these VISAS for us.
Our guests from Africa may choose to speak about their own experiences as LGBTI, or about the plight or state of LGBT people back home.
While no one will be compelled to do more than simply experience Pride, our guests will be free to decry the criminalization by countries abroad – to whatever extent they feel comfortable.
By extending this invitation, some of the invitees have already indicated that they want their voices heard and so this invitation ensures the presence and voices of those whose countries prohibit ‘Pride,’ by law – with so called anti-promotion of homosexuality laws and imprisonment for being gay.
San Francisco’s market street will be lined with 1.5 million people screaming love and acceptance. Need I say more?
And so my American and San Francisco friends – especially the LGBT community- I am asking you to open up your hearts and help me bring up to 20 people from Africa, many who are currently in hiding, to our shores, to celebrate our mutual Pride and to be a voice for 77 countries that criminalize our love and our very existence.
HOW can we COLOR OUR WORLD WITH PRIDE without our WORLD by our side?
TIME IS SHORT AND CRITICAL:
Please help to bring representatives from our African LGBTI family and the most marginalized amongst us, to San Francisco, for Pride 2014.
After we pay Visa fees we have one week to raise approximately $3,880 per person and I have been offered matching funds by a renowned foundation.
Because our guests need visas, an arduous process, I am starting this as an urgent campaign now and asking our LGBTI community to step up and join in to make this possible.
The monies will cover the following:
Return airfares – hotel accommodations – transport to and from airports – visa fees – per diem, for each person. We have faith-based groups on stand by to offer support and other professionals with pro bono services.
Let us welcome our African brothers and sisters into our hearts……. Please help…
The invitees are well aware of the risks of rejection for visas. But that will not stop us. We have a secured the help of one extremely supportive U.S. Senator who recognizes the value in this endeavor and will keep an eye on each case and do all possible to advocate for the visas.
But without your help to raise the money we have no chance.
If we are not successful in obtaining the visas, the monies collected will be used to continue to provide safe-shelter, food and medical assistance, to those in need in these countries. If we are NOT successful in obtaining these visas, we will have created a critical awareness of a State Department that discriminates, against certain groups.
The Canadians and the Swedes have denied such visas for LGBT events. Let us show that America is different. But without us all showing up as a community – we have nothing.
We cannot even begin to ask for the visas without the financial support of our community. Please show up for this critical project. As I said before this is life or death and will set the policy tone to help many many more than the 20 who are invited.
Press, Individuals and in kind sponsorships – please contact Melanie Nathan at email@example.com
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