Showing posts with label International pride. Show all posts
Showing posts with label International pride. Show all posts

October 19, 2018

Inspite of Fear LGBT Took To The Streets in Montego Bay, Jamaica

Alicia Barrett/Gleaner Writer

 Some members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) group took to the streets of Montego Bay, St James, on Sunday to make it clear that they would like to be accepted in society the way they are.
In a well-organised march, the LGBT community managed to evade the eyes of the wider public as they used a deserted roadway in the parish. In a three-minute video, persons were seen gyrating and having a good time as music blasted in the background.
Organiser of the march and president of Montego Bay Pride Maurice Tomlinson said that the event was a success and incident-free even though there was fear among the revellers.
"At the outset, there was fear. Many persons who were on the march were skeptical, but the police had a large presence. I think there were about 25 of them and the roads were blocked off, so it would be hard for anyone to come on the march and do us any harm," he said.
Tomlinson told The Gleaner that the LGBT community is aware of the homophobic society that they live in, and so it was a pleasure to see that so many persons walked bravely to showcase that they are someone as well.
"We hoped to get at least 50 LGBT Jamaicans to bravely walk despite the very real fears that the community feels as a result of the alarming levels of homophobic violence and views that exist in our society. However, more than 100 persons showed up," he said.


The march, which was called 'Walk for Rights', was done at the end of their annual Pride week. Tomlinson said that it was a new development as the LGBT community tries to raise awareness among the nation.
He said that they were no longer willing to accept the denial of their human rights by some members of society and the Government, and through the march, they aimed to open the minds of people and stop homophobia.
Head of the Corporate Communications Unit of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) Assistant Superintendent of Police Dahlia Garrick said that the permit was sought and given to the organisers for the 30-minute event. She said that the JCF recognised that the human rights of every citizen should be respected, and as such, they were not denied their rights.
"We ensured that their human rights were observed and respected, and they were given the highest level of professionalism," she said.
Tomlinson said: "Montego Bay Pride deliberately coincides with this holiday (National Heroes Day), which celebrates our heroes who struggled and sometimes died for complete liberation of all Jamaicans. Our heroes' many sacrifices were also made for LGBT citizens."
He added that there were more marches in the pipeline, and they were hoping that more groups and organisations, including corporate donors, would assist in the upcoming events.

September 6, 2017

LGBT Pride March in Odessa Ukraine, with Jeers and a Military Escort

This event took place at the end of August 2017. I need to post this video to show how valiantly these men and women are to come out in the mists of putting their lives on the line. In countries that feel we are a minority that can be abused, we must convert the street into a StoneWall.

I know there are some of us feeling like we owe nothing to these LGBT on this video. They are on the other side of the globe for heaven's sake. In a country that denies all the freedom and rights,
to LGBT's. The only way to move ahead is by standing by each other and declaring we don't go down quietly because that guarantees we do go down and disappear like in the last century.
The Nazi's even after losing a war and being chased out of Europe after 1945 still unify whether is Germany, Argentina, or Charlestonville, USA.

The Alt. Right which practically is the same white guys except they like to wear suits instead of a hood and white sheets. They stick together against LGBTQ world wide. Just because one feels like not being 'a trouble maker' does not mean that the trouble is not coming to you and bite you in the azz in a very inconvenient way. The closet is no salvation either. The answer is if you can't or won't be out on the streets you need to back up in any way you can those that are on the streets.

Adam Gonzalez 🦊

 Matthew Colligan Nazi ✋supporter with WH present occupant👄

June 26, 2017

Turkey Police Stops Pride March in Istanbul

A plainclothes police officer kicks an LGBT rights activist as Turkish police enforce a ban imposed on the Pride Parade in Istanbul. An estimated 20 people were detained.

 Police in the Turkish city of Istanbul has thwarted attempts by organizers to hold a banned Gay Pride march.
The organizers of the annual event had vowed to press ahead despite the ban by the authorities, who had cited threats from far-right groups.
But police briefly fired rubber bullets to disperse the marchers and detained a number of them.
Homosexuality is not illegal in Turkey - unlike in many Muslim nations - but homophobia remains widespread.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose ruling AK Party is rooted in conservative Islam, has denied wanting to impose traditional religious values, saying he is committed to secularism. But he supports Turks' right to express their religion more openly.
He has been accused of growing authoritarianism in recent years.

'Get used to it'

This is the third year in a row that Turkey's largest city has banned the Gay Pride rally.
The BBC's Mark Lowen, in Istanbul, says the heavy police presence stopped people from entering Istiklal Street, where the rally was scheduled to start.
He says that anybody trying to unfurl a rainbow flag or pass police blockades was prevented from doing so.

A plainclothes police officer kicks a member of a group of LGBT rights activists as Turkish police prevent them from going ahead with a gay pride parade on June 25, 2017, in Istanbul, a day after it was banned by the city governor's office.

 Faced with armed police and water-cannon trucks, the marchers had no chance, our correspondent says. 
The Hurriyet newspaper said that at least 10 people had been detained.
The Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf tweeted that a Dutch cameraman, Bram Janssen, was among those arrested.
Earlier on Sunday, the Gay Pride organizing committee had issued a statement saying: "We are not scared, we are here, we will not change.
"You are scared, you will change and you will get used to it. We are here again to show that we will fight in a determined fashion for our pride." 
For more than a decade the event passed off peacefully - tens of thousands used to throng Istiklal street here.
But now, for the third year running, it's been banned, officially because of threats from ultra-nationalist groups, but critics believe that's a convenient scapegoat for a conservative government that doesn't approve of the parade.
Representatives of some European governments were here to support the cause, stressing that Turkey, still a candidate for EU membership, must respect minority rights.
But the criticism is likely to fall on deaf ears among an increasingly conservative government. For long, Turkey was a haven of gay rights in the Middle East. But the Islamist-leaning President Erdogan is accused by critics of molding Turkey in his image and ostracizing the secular, liberal side of the country.

Lara Ozlen, from the organizing committee, told AFP news agency on Saturday: "It is obvious that a peaceful march is part of our constitutional right.
"It's been known for years. Instead of protecting us, to say 'do not march' just because some will be disturbed is undemocratic."
On Sunday, the Dutch consulate in Istanbul unfurled a large rainbow flag in support of the Pride event.
In addition to citing the threats of far-right groups, city officials said they had not received a formal request to hold the march - a claim denied by the organizers.
This year's event also coincides with the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and the start of the Eid al-Fitr festival.
Last year, Riot police fired tear gas and plastic bullets after transgender rights activists gathered in Istanbul - in defiance of a ban on marching.
BBC Istanbul

June 18, 2017

Kiev Has Incident Free Pride March

Participants take part in the equality march in Kiev, Ukraine. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko REUTERS 
KIEV (Reuters) - Ukrainian politicians and foreign diplomats joined thousands marching for gay pride in Kiev on Sunday, carrying banners and waving rainbow and Ukrainian flags in a parade flanked by a thick cordon of helmeted police.
Some supporters of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights see progress in Ukraine as symptomatic of the country's closer integration with the European Union and rejection of its ties with neighboring Russia.
Sunday's march was largely incident-free, although around 200 people protested, variously calling it an affront to traditional values and to soldiers fighting pro-Russian separatist rebels in the eastern Donbass region.
Ukrainian authorities have increased their support for gay rights since a pro-Western government took power following the Maidan protests in 2014. In 2015, a law was passed banning workplace discrimination against the LGBT community. But critics say homophobic attitudes remain widespread.
Six people were detained for trying to breach the security cordon, the police said in a statement.
"Sunny & well organized #KyivPride2017. Another step forward for equality in #Ukraine," Judith Gough, the British ambassador to Ukraine who joined the march, wrote in a tweet.
A day before the parade, Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, the Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister on European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, said the parade would help Ukraine shake off its "imperial legacy".
"There is a consensus in society on the movement of our state in the direction of Europe," she wrote on Facebook.
"This is not a choice about material wealth. This is a value choice," she said, adding that a pivot to Europe meant Ukraine learning to respect "individuality and diversity".
Sunday's march was a far cry from the violent clashes witnessed at the same event in 2015 but protesters also made their voices heard.
"We cannot allow this March when the country is at war and our brothers are dying on the front," said Igor, 33. "The Bible and our history are against them."
The city was embroiled in gay rights row this year as it hosted the Eurovision Song Contest with a slogan to 'Celebrate Diversity'. A plan to paint a Soviet-era monument in rainbow colors was resisted by hard-right groups.
By Pavel Polityuk 

November 1, 2016

80 Thousands Get to the Streets for Taiwan Gay Pride


It might have rained on their parade, but Taiwan’s wet weather did not dampen the spirits of Asia’s largest gay pride march, as over 80,000 took to the streets of the capital, Taipei, on Saturday to call for equal rights and same-sex marriage.

Rainbow umbrellas went up, matching a sea of multi-coloured flags and hats, in a typically flamboyant scene that included lederhosen, gravity-defying gold heels, and a dozen young men clad in tiny briefs to advertise a gay social network app with their impeccable pecs.
At 2.30pm, as two giant rainbow banners were unfurled and a brass band struck up, the crowd cheered. 

Participants strike poses as they take part in the annual Taiwan lesbian gay pride march 
This year, more than any in Taipei Pride’s 14 year history, the LGBT community had something to celebrate: same-sex marriage may finally be within their reach, making Taiwan the first country in Asia to grant full equality to LGBT couples.

On the eve of the parade, Taiwan’s Justice Minister, Chin Tai-san, gave marchers fresh hope by pledging that the new government, elected earlier this year, had a clear position on same-sex marriage and backed equality.

The official parade theme was “fun together, honor diversity”, but many in the crowd said that marriage equality was their priority.

A participant holds a sign as people take part in the annual Taiwan lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender pride parade in Taipei
“It would make me so proud if my country became the first in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage,” said businessman Ted Chen, who was marching with his Australian teacher boyfriend, Sam Livingston.

The couple, who recently moved to Taiwan after meeting in Thailand 18 months ago, were bashful about whether they were personally ready to marry, but said they desired the right to do so “one day.”
Taiwan, an island of 23 million, is in many ways a liberal beacon in a region where the citizens of some countries can still be jailed for their sexual orientation.

A group of students from Malaysia, where the LGBT community faces intense discrimination, were wide-eyed but enjoying the spectacle. “People here are so free. Our government would never allow it,” said Lim Huienn, one of the group.

But while Taiwan is at the forefront of LGBT rights in Asia, with polls showing a majority of the public favor marriage equality, it has still struggled to change its laws due to a vocal, influential minority who oppose it.

Gay rights groups believe the tide may have turned only in the past few weeks after the suspected suicide of French Professor Jacques Picoux, who died shortly after his long-term Taiwanese partner, Tseng Ching-chao, passed away from cancer.

Friends believe he took his own life on 16 October, distraught that he was denied any say in his partner’s treatment and was then left with no legal claim over the property they shared.
His tragic death appears to have galvanized public sympathy, paving the way for the ruling Democratic Progressive Party [DPP] to table a bill to change the civil code to grant gay couples equal rights in marriage and parental authority.

Yu Mei-nu, the DPP politician who drafted the bill, said she believed it now had the momentum to succeed, possibly as early as next year. “This time it is time,” she said.

June 21, 2016

Turkish Riot Police use Violence to Disperse LGBT Rights Marchers

 Amidst rubber bullets, water cannon and gas, this gay man/woman raises the colors 

Turkish police fired rubber bullets and tear gas to break up a rally by the LGBT community in Istanbul on Sunday, in the second crackdown in as many days on protests by secular Turks.
Several hundred riot police surrounded the main Taksim Square -- where demonstrations have been banned since major anti-government protests in 2013 — to prevent the "Trans Pride" event taking place during Ramadan.
It was the latest crackdown by police in Turkey against an event during the Muslim holy month.
As the police swooped in on the rally of about 150 people, the crowd fled into nearby streets.
Turkish media reported that at least two people were detained.
The "Trans Pride" rally was to kick off LGBT week in Turkey.
The demonstrators unfurled a rainbow flag, a symbol of the LGBT community, and then tried to read a statement but were prevented from doing so by the police.    
 Taksim Gezi Park, Turkey

Istanbul authorities said on Friday they had banned the annual gay pride parade set for June 26 to “safeguard security and public order" after a string of bombings around Turkey over the past year, some of them blamed on the Islamic State group, others claimed by Kurdish militants.

"We want to march for humanity but the police ban everything," an activist who gave her name as Ebru told AFP.
Earlier Sunday, 11 anti-gay protesters, apparently Islamists, demonstrating near Taksim Square were arrested, according to the Dogan news agency.
"We are Ottomans," shouted one, according to video of the incident. "We don't want any of those people here."
 A group of ultra-nationalists asked the authorities last week to cancel the gay pride parade, saying it would make sure it did not take place if police did not heed the call.
The annual Istanbul parade has taken place for the last 12 years without incident with thousands of people taking part in the most important LGBT gathering in a Muslim country in the region.
Sunday's crackdown on the Trans Pride event came a day after police fired tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannon to disperse a protest over an Islamist attack on fans of British rock group Radiohead.
On Friday night, a group of about 20 men beat up customers and staff at the Velvet IndieGround music store in Istanbul for drinking alcohol during an event to promote Radiohead's latest album.
Three of the attackers, who were angered by the fact that alcohol was being served during Ramadan, were arrested but released Sunday after questioning.
On Saturday, about 500 protesters took to the streets of the trendy Cihangir district to condemn the store attack, chanting "Shoulder to shoulder against fascism!" and denouncing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as a "thief" and a "killer".
Turkish authorities have regularly cracked down on anti-government demonstrations since mass protests swept the country in 2013, using tear gas and water cannon against even small gatherings.
Critics accuse Erdogan of growing authoritarianism and of pushing an increasingly conservative agenda in a country where devout Muslims and secularists have long peacefully co-existed.
On Saturday, Turkey's strongman leader vowed to press ahead with the contested redevelopment of Istanbul's Gezi park, next to Taksim Square, which triggered the 2013 revolt by mainly liberal Turks.
A court initially suspended the construction project in the aftermath of the unrest, in which eight people were killed, but the court later reversed its decision.

Osman Orsal/Reuters

June 10, 2016

There will be Blood on LGBT March! Ukraine Nationalist Threatens

Nationalist Ukraine, gay rights and rivers of blood. 58180.jpeg


Ambassadors of six European countries will take part in the gay pride parade to be held in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. The officials expressed their intention to march together with other members of the parade in the center of the Lithuanian capital, reports RT.

About a thousand people will march along the main street of Vilnius - Gediminas Avenue - as part of the LGBT march under the slogan "For Equality!" Ambassadors of Italy, Great Britain, Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands and Norway are said to take part in the event. Representatives of several other European countries - Denmark, Austria, Canada, Israel, France as well as the USA - expressed their support for the action. 

Meanwhile, the LGBT community of Ukraine is getting ready to hold a similar march on June 12 in Kiev. Representatives of the Ukrainian law-enforcement agencies said that the police would not stop the nationalists, who promised to make a bloodbath out of the Kiev gay parade.

Ukrainian LGBT activists have been trying to hold gay marches in the country for several years now. Ironically, the only successful attempt was made in 2013, during the time of Viktor Yanukovych's presidency. After the Maidan coup, when Ukrainian homosexuals tried to arrange another march, rightist radicals explained to them that they should rather not do it. 

In March, the organizers of the Equality Festival in Lviv were forced to leave the city. A group of masked men gathered in front of the hotel where the organizers of the event were staying. Afterwards, it was said that there was a bomb in the building. The people from the building were evacuated. When the organizers were leaving the site in a bus, hostile individuals tried to throw rocks at the bus.
Also read: Ukraine receives gay values from Europe instead of money

The chief of the Human Rights Committee of the Ukrainian Parliament, Grigory Nemyria, said that the march of the LGBT community in Kiev, scheduled for June 12, is to be held. The official also stressed out that discrimination against minorities was unacceptable in a state of law.

 "On the eve of the March for Equality, I would like to stress this out that in accordance with Article 39 of the Constitution of Ukraine, citizens have the right to gather for peaceful meetings, marches and demonstrations. Basic human rights should be available to the LGBT community. Discrimination and aggression against minorities has no place in a state of law, which aspires to become part of the European community," the press service of the Verkhovna Rada said. 

The March for Equality is to start at 10 a.m. at the main building of the Kiev National University named after Taras Shevchenko. Representatives of diplomatic missions are said to take part in the march. 

Ukrainian nationalists promise to shed "rivers of blood" during the gay march in Kiev. Police officials said that they would not stop the radicals, if they attack gays. It appears that the Ukrainian authorities want to build the militarist and nationalist country while playing Western games of human rights and equality. On June 12, we will see what may come out of this.

AP photo

July 23, 2015

LGBT Voices drowned by water canons in Istanbul


  Susan Ryan-Vollmar on the Boston Globe writes about her experience being amongst gays in Turkey while they are being hosed down as an answer for their attempt to have a gay Pride day.

It was June 28, and I was just outside Taksim Square in Istanbul watching a group of black-clad militants beat a man in a rainbow T-shirt. Lady Gaga was tweeting out “This is inhumane!” in response to footage of Turkish police shooting participants of Istanbul’s LGBT Pride March with rubber bullets. As I tried to get away from the attack, I got caught up in a crowd of mostly young LGBT people decked out in rainbow garb who were running from a Toma, a Turkish police tank that houses high-velocity water cannons. Then I witnessed the aftermath of a tear gas attack upon hundreds of defiant marchers. 
I was in Turkey with the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus. The day before the Pride riots, the chorus had entertained more than 3,000 exuberant concert-goers, including Charles Hunter, the US Consul General of Istanbul, who joined the chorus on stage for its rendition of Katy Perry’s hit “Firework.” The show, at Istanbul’s Boğaziçi University, was the last stop on a tour of the Middle East that also included concerts in Ein Gedi, Jerusalem, and Tel Aviv. While we were in Tel Aviv, threats against the chorus began trickling in from Turkey. One tweet with a bull’s-eye emoticon promised us an “Islamist welcoming.”
The concert in Istanbul was a rare public expression of LGBT culture in the Muslim world. It would not have taken place without Hunter’s intervention. By informing the Turkish government in advance that he would be sitting in the front row, he ensured our safety, and that of the audience. It was one example of many this past June of US-led efforts to celebrate and honor LGBT people around the world by marking LGBT Pride month.
Bill Clinton was the first US president, in June of 2000, to officially recognize LGBT Pride. But in 2009, President Obama didn’t just issue a proclamation. His administration put in place formal expressions of respect for LGBT people at every level of the federal government. The impact extends to American embassies and consulates that host LGBT-friendly events and unfurl gigantic rainbow flags off the sides of buildings in countries where LGBT people put their lives on the line merely by coming out. (In 2012, the US embassy in Kenya ― where gay sex is punishable by up to 14 years in prison ― hosted that country’s first LGBT Pride event, in Nairobi.) 
These are not acts of “cultural imperialism,” as claimed by CitizenGo and Family Watch International, global advocacy groups that promote Christian causes. Nor are they empty gestures that ultimately endanger US national security, as the National Review’s Josh Craddock wrote in an April essay chastising the Obama administration for “treating sexual predilections as human rights.”
Ömer Akpinar is an openly gay Turkish journalist and activist. The acceptance of LGBT people by the president and other US officials “lifts up the bar of democracy for people in Turkey . . . and mainstreams the pro-LGBT discourse” in Turkish culture, Akpinar explained in an e-mail exchange.
As a white Western tourist, I was probably never in any real danger at the Turkish Pride riots, other than the possibility of tripping and falling in front of the Toma as I fled from it. But the experience was terrifying nonetheless, and the delayed panic attack that left me shaking and breathless when I finally escaped the chaos was all too real. I cannot imagine living under those circumstances daily. It’s staggering to contemplate the work ahead for LGBT people in most countries around the world. 
Celebrations of LGBT Pride, when coupled with diplomatic speeches before the United Nations declaring that LGBT rights are human rights, as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did in 2011, carry the monumentally significant message that equality matters. US diplomatic leadership on LGBT rights may not influence the actions of foreign governments like Turkey, which can still decide at random to blast its citizens with tear gas and rubber bullets. But it comforts and emboldens LGBT people across the world, like Akpinar, who are making courageous sacrifices to advance human rights in places where the idea of full equality remains a far-off dream.

June 29, 2015

Gay Pride in Seoul faced wrath of Conservative Christians, blood spilled

Gay pride faced Christian outrage in central Seoul in a showdown that dramatized the conflict between Korea’s deeply conservative values and the country’s latter-day surge toward democratic equality.
Advocates and foes of gay rights clashed after a gay pride rally on the grassy plaza in front of Seoul City Hall that drew several thousand people — many celebrating the U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing marriage between gay couples.
As they cheered, sang and danced inside the plaza, thousands of foes of gay marriage shouted slogans and epithets from beyond rows of policemen. The  policemen, pouring from dozens of police buses, probably outnumbered both the gay ralliers and their foes.
A parade in which those at the rally sought to march up the avenue toward the reconstructed Kyongbeok Palace of Korean kings broke up in scuffles between marchers and their critics organized by Seoul’s powerful Protestant churches.

Participants of a gay pride march wave a rainbow flag as they stand before a police cordon set up to keep out anti-gay Christian activists,  (ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images)
Throughout the rally, thousands of policemen formed a tight ring around a temporary enclosure hastily erected to keep out  anti-gay troublemakers. With the police staving off their foes, gay marriage crusaders cheered speeches proclaiming their freedom  to do as they please.
Across the avenue, Christian pastors shouted sermons over mega-loudspeakers denouncing gay marriage as contrary to biblical teachings. “Have you heard of Sodom and Gomorrah,” a Protestant pastor responded when asked what he thought of the rally.
The size and anger of the anti-gay protest showed the depth of the opposition to gay rights.  In a society that is actually rather open when it come to extra-marital sex, in which adultery is common and prostitution is widespread, the notion of gay marriage is almost never mentioned in political debate.

A participant poses for a souvenir photo with cutouts of U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama during the Korea Queer Festival in Seoul, (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
The fact that gay rights crusaders were able to hold the rally in such a conspicuous central location represented a signal triumph for a movement that’s been building in recent years. The police had initially refused to issue a permit for the rally but had to relent after a local court overruled them in the name of free speech.
Although gay rights advocates have organized rallies in recent years, they never before had been able to obtain the permit needed to gather on the city hall plaza, the site of numerous rallies staged over the years by political groups and labor unions.
The weather on a balmy sunny Sunday was perfect for the occasion at which a picnic-like atmosphere prevailed within the fencing that shielded the rally from its foes.
Ralliers sprawled on the grass, did impromptu dances, posed for pictures and applauded songs played by local groups on a large stage. On the fringes of the grass, souvenir stands purveyed gay literature, pins, banners and soft drinks in the rainbow colors of the LGBTQ movement.
Outside the tightly controlled fence surrounding the rally, the mood was that of righteous wrath expressed in biblical quotations as well as banners and posters in Korean and English.
In fact, the anti-gay protesters, crowding broad sidewalks in front of the Seoul City Hall and across the avenue, outnumbered the Gay Pride crowd by a wide margin. They had been preparing for weeks to block the rally, reserving potential rally sites, inveighing against the Gay pride movement in church services and meetings and demonstrating against rally organizers as they asked for permits.
Posters hefted by anti-gay demonstrators tended not to use the word “gay” other than to say, “Gay Marriage Out.” Many of the posters said “No” in large letters beside slogans in Korean. “Homosexual rights are not human rights,” said one of the posters. “Marriage is between man and woman,” said another.
Christian and nationalist values suffused the anti-gay protest.  Banners proclaiming “Holy Korea” and “Holy, Holy Holy” were raised on high while pastors  shouted out the evils of homosexuality as revealed in the bible.
The anti-gay protest was also anti-foreign, at least as seen in declarations about the U.S. Supreme Court decision. “Do not impose foreign culture on Korean cultural values,” said one sign.
The pervasive Christian influence over the anti-gay protest, however, raised another question. About one third of Korea’s 50 million people are Christian, but what about the rest of the people? About one fourth of Koreans are Buddhist while the rest tend to be agnostic or atheist but often influenced by shamanism going deep into Korean cultural history.
Non-Christians also are deeply conservative but may not be so forcefully opposed to gay pride. “I have no problem with that,” said a bystander outside the rally when asked what she thought of marriage for gay couples. “Why does it matter?”
Contributor Forbes

June 8, 2015

Bad news, good news in Ukraine Pride march, violence

Anti-LGBT protesters attack police who guarded LGBT marchers in Kiev on June 6. (Photo courtesy of Bogdan Globa via Facebook)
Anti-LGBT protesters attack police who guarded LGBT marchers in Kiev on June 6. (Photo courtesy of Bogdan Globa via Facebook)
Annotated excerpts from coverage of the Saturday, June 6, Pride march in Ukraine by BuzzFeed and the Washington Blade:
BAD NEWS: Nine police officers were injured during a LGBT “March for Equality” in Kiev on Saturday, after right-wing counter protesters attacked the event.
GOOD NEWS: Police deployed more than 2,000 officers to protect the event, which was canceled last year because the police said they would not protect participants. The Ministry of Internal Affairs said 25 people were arrested for “illegal actions” during the march.
The march was only the second LGBT Pride march to take place in the former Soviet republic since it gained independence in 1991.
GOOD NEWS: President Petro Poroshenko deployed more than 2,000 police officers to the march after nationalists threatened to disrupt it. The pro-European leader did not participate, but he told reporters on Friday that he supported it.
“I will not be taking part,” said Poroshenko, according to Agence France-Presse. “But I see no grounds for someone to try and disturb it, since this is the constitutional right of every Ukrainian citizen.”
GOOD NEWS: Ukrainian advocates with whom the Washington Blade spoke on Saturday said that up to 300 people participated in the march. They said two members of the Ukrainian Parliament, Swedish Ambassador to Ukraine Stefan Gullgren and a representative of the U.S. Embassy in Kiev are among those who took part.
BAD NEWS: Ukraine’s LGBT rights record remains poor compared to other European countries, even though Poroshenko is seeking closer ties to Brussels.
A 2013 Amnesty International report indicates anti-LGBT discrimination and violence remain widespread in Ukraine. LGBT rights advocates last July cancelled a march that had been scheduled to take place in Kiev because local police refused to protect them amid threats from what they described as “ultra-right groups” and soccer hooligans.
Olena Shevchenko, co-chair of the Kyiv 2014 Pride organizing committee, told the Blade on Saturday that she opposed the “March for Equality,” which she described as a “closed format” event, because nationalists would have found out about it.
“I would prefer an open Pride in the center of Kiev,” said Shevchenko. BAD NEWS: “We see how it looks now: LGBT fighting with patriots. This is not the best picture for Ukraine’s European integration.”
BAD NEWS: Bogdan Globa [executive director of the Ukrainian LGBT advocacy group Fulcrum] told the Blade last June during an interview at PFLAG’s Washington offices … that the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, which has declared itself independent from Kiev, has banned so-called gay propaganda to minors [following the lead of Russia]. He said members of a pro-Russian paramilitary group had also recently attacked those who attended a gay party at a Donetsk nightclub.
HelenGloba [a marcher and co-founder of Tergo, a support group for parents and friends of LGBT Ukrainians] said members of her group who live in eastern Ukraine remain afraid to travel because of the ongoing conflict between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian troops.

May 19, 2015

17 Gay Pride Marchers Arrested At St Petersburg Russia

LGBT activists in St. Petersburg hosted a peaceful rally on Sunday while in Moscow, 17 gay rights campaigners were arrested at a similar event.
Gay rights supporters in both cities gathered to mark the 25th anniversary of the day the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from its disease classification, which took place on May 17, 1990. The day is now recognized by LGBT communities worldwide as the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.

LGBT rights activists gathered in St. Petersburg with rainbow-colored flags and balloons, and banners calling for "love without borders," in a rally that proceeded without police interference.
The Sunday gathering at Field of Mars park in the center of the city had been approved by the authorities — despite Russia's law that bans gay "propaganda" in front of minors. Police were standing by to protect demonstrators from any opponents as well as to shield children who happened to pass by from the influence of "propaganda," Russian media reports said.
A little girl tried to approach the demonstration asking for a colorful balloon, only to be held back initially by both police officers, who warned against "propaganda," and rally organizers, who feared a "provocation," Open Russia news portal reported.
After a brief delay, however, she received a balloon, the report said.
Participants in the rally carried banners that read: "We choose love," "Love is not a sin," "The world is not black and white," and "Love without borders," according to photos posted online.
Some of the rally participants also carried signs reading "Glory to Putin," and "Russia, forward," the FlashNord news portal reported.
"It's tough, members of the LGBT community face lots of discrimination in their lives, at work, at school... people are faced with violence in the streets," said protester Nika Yuryeva.
In anticipation of a counter-rally by anti-gay activists, police established a large buffer zone around the gathering, while rally organizers arranged for several buses that could have whisked demonstrators away in case of any clashes, BBC's Russian Service reported.
But opponents failed to materialize, according to Russian media reports.
Notably absent was St. Petersburg's gay-bashing lawmaker, Valery Milonov, well-known for showing up at gay rights events to denounce their participants. However, his wife, Eva Liburkina, and a group of the lawmaker's aides showed up near the rally, Flash Nord reported.
Rally participants mocked the gay-bashing lawmaker by handing out lollipops shaped as his head, accompanied by a note that read: "Don't suck in St. Petersburg," media reports said.  
Demonstrators ended the gathering by releasing dozens of balloons in the colors of the rainbow into the sky, FlashNord reported.  
In the Russian capital, however, 17 protestors were detained by police at a failed flashmob, according to organizers.
Some 50 people assembled on a square outside a Moscow theater, but crowd control police showed up with a bus and started shoving the protesters inside before they managed to unfurl any banners or chant any slogans.
One of the organizers, Andrei Obolensky, said later that he and others were still detained at a police station, and only one of them had so far been released.
The LGBT community has come under increased pressure in Russia as President Vladimir Putin has charted a more conservative course since starting his third term in 2012.
A 2013 law against gay "propaganda" sparked an outcry among Russian rights activists and in the West. But partly reflecting the influence of the Orthodox church, many Russians back the law or have negative feelings towards gays.
 (MT / Reuters)

Pride in Independent Georgia goes without a hitch

Many in Georgia heaved a collective sigh of relief after pro-LGBT rights rallies went without clashes on May 17, the International Day against Homophobia.
Groups of activists assembled in several locations in the capital, Tbilisi, mainly to highlight the European Court of Human Rights’ recent decision to impose penalties on the Georgian state for failing to prevent attacks against participants in an anti-homophobia demonstration in 2012.
Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili construed the lack of violence as proof that Georgia “is a deserving, distinguished society and a civilized state.” But it also had to do with the LGBT community and their rights-defenders taking their precaution this time around. Mindful of assaults in 2012 and, especially in 2013, when a violent mob crushed a similar demonstration, the groups this year did not publicly announce the venues for their rallies.
One demonstration took place in a small downtown public garden. The rally was heavily guarded by police, with circles of cordons and busloads of police officers at the ready. Another group gathered on Vachnadze Street, where in 2013 police barely managed to rescue several LGBT activists from a de-facto lynch-mob. Still another group gathered in front of the justice ministry calling on it to implement the European Court of Human Rights’ decision.
In a May-12 judgment, the Strasbourg-based court ruled that the Georgian state should pay a total of 33,500 euros (roughly $38,181) to both individual and group plaintiffs for having failed to protect their right to safe assembly in 2012.
Some of the same individuals became victims of violence on a much larger scale in 2013.
Others appear bent on lending a foreign-policy dimension to these confrontations. Those who agitate in favor of closer ties with Russia maintain that the EU and its LGBT-tolerant policies run counter to Georgian traditions (an argument that also has been made in Armenia about Armenian traditions).
On May 17, a small collection of poster-toting protesters, including several priests, gathered in front of the European Union’s office in Tbilisi to denounce "propaganda for homosexuals."
But beyond that, activism by both sides was scattershot and peaceful, and much of the debate took place online and on TV as it should.

by Giorgi Lomsadze   

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