The rebellion at the Stonewall Inn in 1969 kick started an international move for LGBTQ+ equality. 50 years after Stonewall the struggle for LGBTQ+ equality continues. The year 2019 saw many milestones. Despite official bans, police arrests and tear gas, Pride marches were held in Istanbul and Moscow. Bosnia’s capital, Sarajevo, saw its first Pride march. Taiwan, Ecuador and Austria legalized same-sex marriage, while Angola decriminalized homosexuality. A law allowing a third sex option on official documents took effect in Germany. And while Kenyan authorities banned the lesbian film “Rafiki” (“Friends” in Swahili) inside its own country, lead actress Samantha Mugatsia went on to win the best actress award of Africa’s largest film festival.
LGBTQ+ communities have always used dress as a way to negotiate in hostile environments. The use of dress as a means of both individual expression and group identity, of resistance and celebration, also continues. In the words of “Rafiki” director Wanuri Kahiu, after hearing of the best actress award, “The oldest African film festival acknowledged a queer character... So proud! Queerness cannot be silenced!"