Monthly Archives: March 2010

Islamic Protestors Force Evacuation of ILGA Conference in Surabaya, Indonesia

Very sad … Fridae.com has an insiders’ look at the recently stopped ILGA conference in Surabaya.

Around 50 to 60 Islamic hardliners arrived at the hotel hosting the conference and demanded an end to the conference, and for attendees to leave the country.

Sylvia Tan who wrote the story includes revealing photos of what happened at the hotel.

Islamic protestors force evacuation of ILGA conference in Surabaya

Check out the full story at: http://www.fridae.com/

Daily Show’s “Greatest Gay Moments”

Often the Daily show can have some very amusing clips …

Daily Show Pride - Queer and Loathing in Washington D.C.

For John Stewart fans, I also just found this article on AfterElton.com that shows more clips of the Daily Show’s “Greatest Gay Moments”.

A Look Back at Jon Stewart’s Greatest Gay Moments — From AfterElton.com

Journal Entry: March 25, 2010 – Travel Preparations

Late on the evening of May 5, we’ll be arriving in Vilnius, Lithuania, to document the 2010 Baltic Pride Festival. Baltic pride will be the first of about 30 world pride parades we will be photographing during just over a year of travel. We’ll be writing more about LGBT rights in Lithuania, and details about the march, as we get closer to its’ date.

Vista of Vilnius

A picture of Vilnius (from wikimedia)

However, before we arrive there is still much to take care. We are both currently passport-less … we’ve had to send them away with our visa applications in order to obtain entry to Belarus (our 2nd stop). Thankfully most of the other places we’ll be visiting allow entry for 30 days without visas.

Booking tickets, quitting jobs, and selling household items are also things that must be done, and sooner rather than later. We are getting rid of our apartment when we leave Taiwan, so everything we are not bringing with us must go. It is a little difficult to part with some things, Chad always looks especially miserable when discussing plans to sell his motorcycle. Yet, I think in the end we both feel so extremely fortunate to have this opportunity … an amazing opportunity to travel around the globe documenting a year’s worth of pride, any hassle we must deal with now is well worth it.  At least I keep telling myself that as I sort through ever growing piles of collected junk … !

The Baltic Pride Facebook Clash

Facebook has become a new forum for those wishing to show either their opposition or support for this year’s 2010 Baltic Pride Festival in Vilnius.  However, this has taken a hateful turn as the Lithuanian Attorney General’s office is now investigating those advocating violence at the march. 

 “I am for fighting and people supporting it in May 2010” and “I am against homosexualists’ parade in Vilnius in May 2010” are two main groups against the pride march, and contain plenty of threats for violence and harsh sentiments..

On the other side, there are also FB groups starting in support of the march.  If you want to show your support, here are some that we’ve found:

Baltic Pride 2010 – Vilnius, Lithuania

In a month and a half from now, the “Walk With Pride” project will travel to Eastern Europe to photograph gay pride marches.  Our first stop will be Baltic Pride 2010 in Vilnius, Lithuania (May 8).

Baltic Pride is a joint effort between LGBT organizations in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.  Last year’s Baltic Pride was held in Riga, and faced serious issues as the Riga City Council revoked permission to march only 2 days before the march was to take place.  However, a last minute court injunction the morning before the Saturday march overturned the council’s ban and allowed the pride march to take place.  Almost 600 people marched during last year’s Baltic Pride in support of LGBT rights and against discrimination.  Around 70 yellow shirted activists from Amnesty International were also among those present.  Here’s a video from last year’s march, which you can see as part of the 2010 Pride Parade Calendar.

While this year’s Baltic Pride is scheduled to take place in Vilnius, Lithuania, it is also facing the risk of a government ban.  While the organizers have received a permit to hold a peaceful march, legal requests have been made to the Lithuanian Attorney General to cancel Baltic Pride as they say it would violate a new law concerning “Protection of Minors Against Harmful Public Information.“

Unfortunately, the marches held in this region currently face many prejudices, including threats of violence and the risk of cancelation.  This makes the strong efforts of the LGBT organizations operating in this area very inspiring as they work under more challenging circumstances.

For up-to-date information you can visit the Baltic Pride website, or become a Baltic Pride fan on Facebook.

“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” March in Washington D.C.

On Thurdsay, Mar 18, a protest  occured in Washington DC against the US’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, which prevents openly gay (or outed) persons serving in the military.  After a DADT rallty, protestors marched to the White House where Lt. Dan Choi and Capt James Pietrangelo handcuffed themselves to the W.H. fence… until they were arrested.

Check out Americablog.com for photos from the protest, and Towleroad also has a good piece about the march.

Learn more about the “GetEQUAL” at:  http://getequal.org .

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Photographing Sydney’s Mardi Gras – Part 1

(Travel Experiences of WWP Photographer ~ Charles Meacham)

I arrived back in Taipei from Sydney over two weeks ago, and the daze still hasn’t fully worn off.  I can still see, hear, and feel Mardi Gras.  I close my eyes and find myself back on Oxford Street in the middle of all that sound and color.  For me, the best part of being a photographer is coming up with an idea and then making that idea happen.  The experience of being exactly where you want to be, at the exact time you want to be there is an incredible feeling.  But as any photographer will tell you, not everyday is fun, and Sydney was no exception.

I arrived in Oz the day before one of Mardi Gras biggest events, Fair Day.  Over 70,000 people were expected to show up at Sydney’s Victoria Park, and I was looking forward to a day of shooting and getting to meet different members of the community that I had been in contact with via email.  But  that morning getting to Victoria Park was a bit of a hassle.  As I had written before, my hotel, which advertised being a LGBT and Mardi Gras supporter, knew nothing about the event or where it was being held.  Going out onto one of the main streets in Sydney, two taxi drivers swore they had never heard of Victoria Park, and that I must have the name wrong.  Finally, with the help of the police, I made my way there.  There was not a cloud in the sky, and the Aussie sun was out in full force.  Jet lagged and sunburnt, I found it hard to focus my attention and get into any kind of rhythm.  I took pictures, but not anywhere the number I had hoped.

Sydney Mardi Gras

Two days later, I came across a magazine article that talked about a right-wing christian protest held a few days before the main parade during a church service.  The event looked fairly large, so I checked some local maps, found the church, and prepared to go there to photograph the service.  Getting there was not as easy as I thought, as I was directed to board the wrong train and missed the whole thing.  For me this was 0/2 and you can really start getting down on yourself.  It cost a lot of money to get to OZ, and not to produce would be a pretty big blow to the project, and to my morale.

The next event was the actual parade, and the pressure was on.

Sydney’s Mardi Gras is by far the largest, most organized event that I have yet photographed for the WWP project, and having the opportunity to be a part of it all was a truly unforgettable  life experience.  There were press passes, press meetings, police barricades, lots and lots of other photographers, news channels, etc..etc.  The true enormity of it hits you as you look out at the huge crowds gathered.

Crowd at Sydney Mardi Gras

Let me just say, I felt much better about the trip after my experience photographing the parade and Harbour Day.  I’ll write more about these events soon, and check the WWP Flickr account for new photos from Sydney.

Pride Image of Sydney Mardi Gras

Exporting Gay Hate to Africa

Watch a very disturbing video (brought to our attention by the Gay Civil Rights Movement)

Gay Pride in Africa

While most countries in Africa are not so liberal when it comes to gay rights, South Africa is one of the few that not only legally allow homosexuality (since 1994), but also have legalized same-sex unions (since 2006).

Africa Gay Rights

Each year pride parades are held in both Johannesburg and Cape Town.  This year’s Cape Town pride took place on March 6.  The parade’s theme was “Uniting the Cultures of Cape Town.”

Pride Image - Cape Town Pride 2010, Unifying Cultures of Cape Town

“It was the biggest yet,” said Cape Town Pride Chairperson Glenn De Swardt, who estimated that up to 8,000 people took part in the event.  He noted that this year’s parade was particularly focused on political issues, especially the deteriorating human rights of LGBT people across Africa, including the rape and murder of lesbians in South Africa.” – from mambaonline.com

While the WWP project was not able to attend this year’s parade, we hope to make an appearance to photograph the 2011 festival!

Beyond Gay: The Politics of Pride

Just discovered this movie, and it looks great … 

BEYOND GAY: The Politics of Pride 
Presented by Big Gay Movie 

Increasingly the Pride movement is globalizing. Coolen and many Pride organizers in North America and Europe, where celebration has overtaken political action, strive to remind their communities that Pride is at its heart a global fight for human rights.

synopsis-caps

Despite the hundreds of thousands of people cheering in the streets, Pride is much, much more than a parade and a party. It is a giant step on the road to true equality. The GLBT community during Pride is an entertaining and engaging multi- ethnic group than can bring attention to the issue of human rights with diversity, insight, and of course plenty of fabulousness. Some highlights include:

InterPride 2007, Zurich Switzerland
Coolen and co-parade director, Dean Nelson, attend this international conference of Pride organizations. Many human rights activists are interviewed, including American artist and activist Gilbert Baker creator of the first rainbow flag.

Sao Paulo Pride Parade, Brazil
This begins a tour Coolen and the crew will never forget. VIP access to the world’s largest Gay Parade where 4 million people take part in their government sponsored Pride: a street party that defies the imagination. Their theme this year: Homophobia Kills! Then, 7days later …

Moscow Pride
Coolen and crew are the only foreigners involved in the clandestine preparations for this event. Secret meetings, hidden identities, police harassment, the first successful peaceful Pride March, and a violent counter protest reveal just how passionate people can be about a parade.

Pride Colombo, Sri Lanka
Pride events here are only advertised after they take place, in order to protect the identities of those brave enough to attend. Our host, Pride organizer Sahran Abeysundra, later travels to Canada to be a Grand Marshal in Vancouver’s Parade.

Vancouver Pride
“Celebrating 30 Years of the Rainbow”: Back in Vancouver, where equal marriage is legal and the parade entertains half a million people, Ken struggles to make the parade have some meaning after all he has seen. Through Ken we discover that despite thousands of people cheering in the streets, Pride is much, much more than a parade and a party. It’s a giant step on the road to true human equality.” – movie synopsis from