ZIMPRIDE

ZimPride • Jacaranda Queen

General homophobia and restrictive legislation make it difficult for LGBTI people in Zimbabwe to feel safe about being open about their sexuality in public spaces and so the community is not yet ready to march onto the streets in numbers and celebrate Pride. However, GALZ members frequently attend pride marches in South Africa, in particular Joburg Pride.

The traditional international Gay Pride month of June is generally observed in Zimbabwe by throwing a large party, but the homegrown ZimPride takes place in October in the week running up to the big event of the Zimbabwean gay and lesbian calendar, Miss Jacaranda Queen Drag Pageant, named after the exotic jacaranda tree which comes into vivid purple bloom around this time.

Drag pageants were a major part of the Zimbabwean gay and lesbian scene in the 1980s, but the first official Jacaranda Queen took place in 1995. For the first five years, it was organised independently from GALZ but, in 2000, the association took over official control of the event.

Traditionally, Jacaranda Queen is held in a public hall although this is becoming increasingly difficult because of acts of violence perpetrated by homophobes, and last-minute cancellations by nervous venue managers.

Every year a Queen is chosen along with a First Princess, a Second Princess and a Miss Personality.