Pride Afrique is the first of its kind, a three-day virtual extravaganza celebrating Africa’s diverse, colorful community of sexual minorities. But behind the glitz and glam, participants say, is a very serious need to bring gay Africans into the light, as their lives are threatened on the continent every single day. Homosexuality is illegal in more than half of Africa’s 54 countries, with penalties ranging from jail time to execution. Even in countries where same-sex relationships and fluid gender identities are decriminalized, they remain culturally unpopular, and often result in discrimination or even targeted violence. Festival committee member Welcome Lishivha says that while the event may look fun, sexy and glamorous, its underlying message is very serious. That was the purpose of this year’s inaugural, unusual Pride Afrique festival. The multimedia celebration of Africa’s rainbow of sexual minorities was held virtually over three days this month, amid restrictions across the continent that prohibit large gatherings. About 1,000 people tuned in digitally, on YouTube.