Budapest Pride – July 10, 2010

It was incredibly hot and sunny for Budapest Pride.  However, that didn’t stop almost 1,000 people turning out for Pride.

While previous marches were held in public view, since the violence of the 2007 and 2008 Budapest Prides, the march now takes place on a closed off section of one of the city’s main thoroughfares, Andrassy Street.  Ahead of the event, organizers were in disputes with police over the length of the Pride.  While last year they were allowed to walk down the entire length of the street, this year they could only go half-way.  The police said due to flooding problems in the South of Hungary, they didn’t have enough gates to block off the whole street.

Budapest Pride Andrassy Street

Andrassy Street before the Pride

Chad and I set off around 9 in the morning to watch the gates being set up (on half of Andrassy).  We also watched them install some video cameras along the Pride route.  Around 11am, police in full riot gear turned out.  I can guess this must have been really unbearable in the July heat, as I was baking in a tee-shirt and jeans.

Budapest Pride Police

Police putting on riot gear to get ready for Budapest Pride 2010

One of the difficulties of having a closed off Pride March is deciding who to let in.  And, unfortunately, a few people who would later cause a minor disruption of the Pride procession were mistakenly let in, as well as three completely wasted individuals that proceeded to give television interviews while falling over drunk (and in general made asses out of themselves).

The march started around 4p, after the arrival of a large decorated float with music blasting from speakers onboard.  About a thousand people, including quite a few heterosexual supporters, marched down Andrassy Street.  I noticed several signs against homophobia, and against fascism.  The event reminded me very much of Romania’s GayFest, as people walked and danced down a big empty street.

Budapest Pride

Everything was going fine and was very festive until 4 right-wingers who had infiltrated the pride took a stand in front of the truck.  Not wanting to run anyone down, whoever was driving the truck decided to stop, and the police rushed out to arrest the skinheads.  However, this did cause a minor disruption to the procession, and organizers decided to turn back the march at that point as it was nearly to the end of the route anyway.

The speeches for this Pride took place before the event, so when the march had returned to the starting point those on the organizing committee began ushering participants into the closed-off metro, where police would escort them to safe exit points away from the event.  This was good in theory, but they chose to use the metro entrance right in front of those demonstrating against the Pride, instead of any of the previous 4 empty stops on the closed off street.

Budapest  metro

As you might guess the right-wing protestors just a metal barrier away from those participating in the Pride march began chanting anti-homophobic slogans.  Pride participants would respond with chants against homophobia and fascism.  While the police outside the gate kept trying to quiet the skin heads and other protestors, the volunteer organizers inside the gated area tried to do the same – encouraging people to be silent and not to provoke the protestors.

The organizers had just fears concerning safety, however this still didn’t go over well as many who had come to participate in Budapest Pride wanted to speak up and demonstrate against homophobia.  The photo below shows one young man trying to hold out his rainbow flag, as organizers link hands and try to push him away from the barricade.

Budapest Pride Rainbow

On September 4th those opposing the pride have promised to hold their own heterosexual march down Andrassy Street.

To view more images check out the WWP: Behind the Photos blog

http://wwpbehindthephotos.wordpress.com/2010/07/12/budapest-pride-july-10-2010/

Budapest Pride is Tomorrow!

Hey, this is Chad.  I don’t usually do the blog posts, but Sarah is a little busy tonight so I’ll do my best just to fill you in on what we’ve been doing this past week to prepare for Budapest’s 15th Pride.

Budapest Pride, Budapest, Hungary, Human Rights, Judith M. Horváth, First, every day this week workshops were held on different topics concerning the LGBT community.  My favorite was Hungarian photographer Judith M. Horváth’s comparison of the Roma community to the LGBT community.  Judith and her husband’s images of the Roma were just incredible.

Budapest Pride, Hungary, Clare  Dimyon, Gay Rights, Human Rights, activistThen on Thursday we headed over to the British Embassy to hear LGBT activist Clare Dimyon, in orange, discuss her experiences in different Prides around the EU.  Clare was awarded the MBE, Member of the British Empire Award, by the Queen for her work. She was also featured in the movie; “Beyond Gay: The Politics of Pride”.  I first met Clare briefly in Lithuania, so it was nice to actually catch up with her here.

Budapest Pride, Gay Rights, Human Rights, Hungary, Beyond Gay:The Politics of PrideEarlier tonight we headed to a theater where they were showing “Beyond Gay:The Politics of Pride”.  This is truly such a great way to start out any Pride.  I’ve watched it in several countries where the content really hits home with the audience, with many left in tears.  A special treat was that producer Morris Chapdelaine is attending tomorrow’s march and held a Q&A right after the screening.  It was great to finally meet him after following his FB page for so long.

And so tomorrow is the Pride, well actually today since it’s around 1am.  We’ll wake up at 7 and head out early to photograph the police getting the streets ready.  The last couple of years were plagued with violence from skinheads, so I have no idea what the day will hold.  I never know how I’m going to photograph such things.  I just hope for the best, and that everyone gets home ok. Sleep well Budapest and Happy Pride.

Arrived in Budapest, and history of the Pride

On Monday morning we arrived in Hungary, still slightly exhausted from catching an 8a.m. flight into Budapest.  However, we are looking forward to documenting Budapest Pride.

While this year the annual Budapest Pride march will be celebrating its 15th anniversary, the march has also been plagued by escalating levels of violence.  While the first 11 marches only had only minor disruptions, starting in 2007 the events have had more violent protests.  Not only eggs, but also beer cans, smoke bombs, and other trash were thrown at participants.  The ultra-nationalists have also chanted disturbing slogans like, “Queers into the Danube, Jews after them.”  After this pride eleven attacks took place on those who had participated in the Pride.  In 2008 the Police Chief tried to deny the organizers permission to hold the Pride, but this decision was soon reversed.  However, levels of violence increased with Nationalists websites encouraging violence on the LGBT community, and publishing lists of gay hangouts – some of which were later attacked with Molotov cocktails.  During the 2008 pride, bottles, rocks, firecrackers, and gasoline bombs were thrown at the participants.

Starting in 2009 the strategy of isolating the march from public view was put into practice, and this will be the same strategy employed this year.  Unfortunately, already this year Pride organizers have had to face disruptions caused by neo-Nazis.  A dozen showed up on Sunday at the opening of the Pride festival, including two who attacked a participant leaving the event.  Again, like many of the places we’ve visited, the perpetrators of these hateful actions are youths!

Anyway, it should be an eventful time documenting this Pride, and getting to know the community hosting the march.  We are spending the early part of this week attending workshops hosted by the Pride.

To see a full schedule of programs, check out:
http://www.budapestpride.hu/en

Country Details: Gay Rights and Culture in Hungary

Hungary LGBT Rights:

Homosexual Acts Legal? Yes, since 1961

Same-sex Relationships Recognized? Yes

◊ Since 1996 unregistered cohabitation has been recognized, and registered partnerships since 2009.

Same-sex Marriages Allowed? No

Same-sex Adoption Allowed? No

◊ No joint adoption is allowed, or even the adoption of same-sex partner’s children

Can Gays Serve Openly in the Military? Yes

Anti-discrimination Laws? Yes

◊ The 2003 Act on Equal Treatment and the Promotion of Equal Opportunities forbids sexual orientation discrimination concerning employment, education, housing, health, and access to goods/services.

Legislature Concerning Gender Identity? Some

Cultural Points of Interest:

While this year the annual Budapest Pride march will be celebrating its 15th anniversary, the march has also been plagued by escalating levels of violence.  While the first 11 marches only had only minor disruptions, starting in 2007 the events have had more violent protests until in 2009 the parade march was completely blocked from public view.

Already, in 2010, Pride organizers have had to face disruptions caused by neo-Nazis.  A dozen neo-Nazis showed up at the opening of the Pride festival, including two youths who attacked a participant leaving the event.

Websites:

Budapest Pride –  The Budapest Pride main website, it has a complete schedule of events, and information about the local community.
http://www.budapestpride.hu/en

PinkVanilla.hu – LGBT portal providing news and forums.
http://pinkvanilla.hu/

Labrisz Lesbian Association – A local lesbian organization which besides providing social space, reflects on the social position of lesbian and bisexual women in a more organized form.
http://www.labrisz.hu/english

Pride.hu – Information and social portal for the Hungarian LGBT community.
http://pride.hu/

London is Full of Pride!

It was clear from the beginning that London Pride would be a different experience than most of the Prides we’ve documented so far in the ‘Walk with Pride’ Project.  Thousands of people are expected to participate in the Pride, with several hundred of thousands more coming to watch.

We arrived 3 hours early and the preparations were already in full swing.  Buses lined Baker Street, and the work of ‘glamming’ them had started.  People walked around in crazy outfits, free to wear how much or how little they’d like.  While London Pride does have a big festive party atmosphere feel, there is another side that concerns rights and social issues.  There were many organizations present supporting different social projects, and groups raising awareness concerning the troubles face by LGBT communities in Africa and the Middle East.  Chad’s photos fro this Pride try to show this contrast, as he switches between portraits of those in costume, and those promoting social issues.  It’s something a little different, but we hope you Enjoy …!

London Pride Queen
Http://wwpbehindthephotos.wordpress.com
(Pride London)

Going to London Pride

Leaving Sofia, Bulgaria, we’ve headed to the United Kingdom, so that on Saturday we can attend Pride London.  This Pride is a little different from some of the others we’ve documented as it is so huge.  Last year’s Pride march had 1 million people attending.

While for the smaller Prides we usually spend the week before a Pride getting to know the organizers and documenting the preparations, for this parade we’ve gotten a little beak.  So the past few days we’ve been visiting a friend who lives in Wales.  After documenting 11 prides so far this year, it’s been more than nice to get a few days break.

Doing this project we’ve experienced all kinds of Prides, from  marches just starting out and fighting to be able to publicly share their pride, to those that have become big festive parades.  As you can guess, London Pride is the latter.  While it is easy to sensationalize Prides like this, as outrageous customs are very much the norm, our plan is to focus on portraits.  Doing this, our desire is to keep attention on individuals.  We just hope it doesn’t rain!

For more information on London Pride: http://www.pridelondon.org/

Country Details: Gay Rights and Culture in the UK

Country Details: Gay Rights and Culture in the UK

UK LGBT Rights:

Homosexual Acts Legal? Yes

Same-sex Relationships Recognized? Yes

Same-sex Marriages Allowed? No

Same-sex Adoption Allowed? Yes

◊   Joint and stepchild adoption since 2005 (England and Wales), 2009 (Scotland)

Can Gays Serve Openly in the Military? Yes

Anti-discrimination Laws? Yes

◊   Discrimination on the basis of both sexual orientation and gender identity is illegal in housing, employment and the provision of goods and servicesLegislature

Concerning Gender Identity? Yes

The Gender Recognition Act also gave transsexuals the right to change their legal gender.

Cultural Points of Interest:

London hosted Europride 2006, and is planned to host Worldpride 2012.

Websites:

Gay Pride UK – a site that provides in-depth information on pride events happening in the UK.
http://www.gay-pride.org.uk

Pink Paper – an excellent source of news, entertainment, health, jobs and general information for gay men, lesbians and bisexuals.
http://news.pinkpaper.com/

LGBT History Month – resource that describes the histories of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Britain and Northern Ireland.
http://www.lgbthistorymonth.org.uk/

Pride London – official site for the annual Pride London festival, two weeks of theatre, music, debate, art and entertainment to raise awareness of discrimination and the issues and difficulties affecting the lives of LGBT people around the world.
http://www.pridelondon.org

Sofia Pride – Images and Video!

A gallery for Sofia Pride is now online.

This was the country’s third Pride …

Sofia Pride

Http://wwpbehindthephotos.wordpress.com
(Sofia Pride 2010)

YouTube Videos:

Sofia Pride – over 700 in attendance!

It’s amazing to think how Sofia Pride has grown since the first march in 2008.  That first 2008 Pride faced fierce opposition from neo-Nazi protestors throwing Molotov cocktails, and 88 protestors being arrested by the police.  Since then, the march has grown from a little over 100 participants to 2010’s march which had well over 700 supporters taking part.

The morning of the Pride we met with some of the volunteer organizers of Sofia Pride.  Chad actually managed to give them quite a shock, as when we arrived outside their apartment and saw a rainbow flag, Chad pulled out his camera, and inside they just saw a guy in all black hanging around their window and pulling something out of a bag…yah, oops!  One of the reasons they were on edge was from a news report they’d been looking at online about an ultra-nationalist protest march that had taken place that morning.  About 100 nationalists had rallied in support of homophobia and intolerance.  Again, this group had many crazy “facts” concerning homosexuality concerning how dangerous LGBT people are, yet I don’t think this morning they were the ones worried about their demonstration being attacked.

A few hours before the Pride we left for the old headquarters of Sofia Pride, which was in the office of Gemini.  I’m not sure the complete story, but Gemini had been one of the main LGBT organizations in Bulgaria, before it had stopped operations last year.  It didn’t take long for this place to fill up with people, balloons, and all things rainbow.  Michael Cashmen, UK Labor MEP and co-president of the European Parliament’s Intergroup (and someone who we’d seen both at the Lithuanian and Romanian Prides), arrived to show his support for Sofia Pride.  Mr. Cashmen had participated in last year’s march as well.

As the time for the Pride got closer, the police escorted the Pride volunteers in a large group to the start of the march.  Entering the roped off perimeter, participants were greated by the media, with cameras and video cameras everywhere.  While we waited to begin, more and more people arrived.  The great turnout was helped by the weather, despite threatening to be rainy all week, surprisingly the rain held off.  This helped the number in attendance to pass the 500-600 originally expected

Around 5pm the event started, with a huge mass of people walking from Lover’s bridge to Vassil Lovski Blvd.  A large float led the he march, with dancers and a DJ playing music.  The 300 police present provided security for the march, and prevented any disruptions.  Taking part, I didn’t notice anyone protesting … the only thing was a lone egg thrown from an apartment that landed on the ground a little to close for comfort from my foot.

The Pride march ended at a nearby park several blocks away.  There was much celebration, music, and waving of Pride flags.  As well as strong hopes that next years’ Pride march would have double the amount of supporters.

The last Saturday in June has long been remembered as the start of the Stonewall riots, and a turning point for the Gay Rights movement.  While it is great to think of how many Pride parades and marches have been able to take place since this event, including Sofia’s Pride, it also makes one consider all the places where public displays of pride are still illegal.  I have to say it was distressing to return from Sofia Pride, only to read about the arrests in Saint Petersburg, Russia – where not only were five of the activists arrested, but so was a group of skin heads that had showed up with box cutters.  Unfortunately, the world is still rife with homophobia, but at least I’d like to hope things are getting/will get better.

Getting Ready for Sofia Pride

Here are some pictures from the week leading up to Sofia Pride.

Sofia Prid 1

Sofia Pride Sign Making

Sign making time …

Sofia Pride Sign Making 2

Security Briefing

Sofia Pride Security Meeting

Sofia Pride

Fund-raising Party

Sofia Pride

The Pride march will be tomorrow!