Tag Archives: gay activist

Moscow Pride 2010 = Success!

No arrests.  No police.  No skinheads.

I’m pleased to report that the 5th Moscow Pride went extremely well.  Waiting in the headquarters, before the Pride, with over 30 Russian, Belorussian, and International activists, everyone was nervous.  Looking at the history of the Pride, and the 40 people arrested last year, those participating were fearing the worst, and hoping for the best.

What helped this year was the use of disinformation, which kept the police and skinheads far away from the real action.  As the opposition gathered in front of city hall, gay pride activists marched in a different part of the city.

When we got the call the Pride was to begin, everyone quickly went in small groups to the designated area.  As soon as activists arrived, the pride began.  In Russian, there were shouts of “Russia without homophobes” and “Rights for gays,” while participants grabbed hold of the 20m flag, hand-sewn and brought in from Belorussia.

Moscow Pride 2010

Moscow Pride 2010, photograph by Charles Meacham

As quickly as it started, everything evaporated.  The flag was folded up, and activists dashed in different directions.  Police hadn’t arrived yet, but everyone knew they were coming.  Only a few minutes after people scattered, and a police van pulled up.  But, there was no one to arrest.

Much later, those who participated in the Pride began to gather to celebrate today’s victory.  Let’s just say everyone was quite happy, especially proving the Mayor wrong who said no gay pride could take place in Moscow …

Photos to be posted very soon on http://www.walkwithpridenow.com

Video of the pride:

Moscow Pride 2010 is 1 day away

Earlier this morning there was another court hearing concerning the banned march.  The opposition presented a feeble argument.  Getting up before the judge, the opposition lawyer said the pride event was banned by the Mayor because a different event was already scheduled for that day, a rally in support of PM Vladimir Putin.  When Nikolai got up to speak on the absurdity of this ‘Putin argument’, especially as he’d been the very first at the courthouse the day the law allowed applying for the permit, the judge couldn’t help but stifle a chuckle.  However, in the end Gay Russia’s attempt to legally hold the march was futile.

Nikolai addressing the media after the court hearing

Nikolai at the Courthouse

A homophobic lady passing by the court house gets into a discussion with Vlad Kuzn etsov, an activist from GayBelarus

While national world governments have not been vocal in supporting the Moscow Gay Pride march, a group of Human Rights activists here in Moscow have taken to the web using every press outlet they have to spread the word about what’s going on…

Peter Tatchell of Outrage! (left), Andy Harley of UK Gay News (middle/front), Andy Thayer of Gay Liberation Network (middle/back), Sarah Baxter of Walk with Pride (rt)

Tomorrow, we’ll have pictures and updates of
the 5th Moscow Pride.

Moscow Pride 2010 … Still Illegal

We wait patiently in the Moscow courtroom.  The judge is in his chambers deciding the legality of the 5th Moscow Pride march.  Everyone stands as the judge returns.  His announcement – the ban is upheld.

The “Walk with Pride” project is currently in Moscow to document the latest attempt to hold Moscow Pride.  Each year the group Gay Russia, led by LGBT rights activist Nikolai Alekseev, has conflicts with the courts, Moscow’s homophobic Mayor Yury Luzhkov, the police, religious groups, and even neo-Nazis while attempting to demonstrate for equal rights.

While in Minsk, Chad had made contact with Nikolai and approached him about photographing the preparations for this year’s Moscow pride.  Nothing was guaranteed, so we were more than a little relieved to get our first call from Nikolai on Wednesday morning asking if we’d like to accompany him to a preliminary hearing concerning the Mayor’s ban on Moscow Pride.

Moscow Courthouse concerning legality of Moscow Pride

Nikolai (left), Alexey, and a lawyer for the Prefecture await another hearing concerning the Mayor's ban on Moscow Pride

Over the next couple of days we are witness to many court hearings, but each failed to provide the group with the basic right of assembly.

Arrival of Human Rights supporters in Moscow, including Peter Tatchell, from Outrage!, Louice-Georges Tin of IDAHO, and Andy Harley, from UKGayNews.

On Thursday afternoon, following the most recent court decision to uphold the ban, a press conference is held.  During this conference activist Peter Tatchell and other key members of Human Rights organizations, spoke out condemning the ban.

Moscow Pride 2010 Press Conference

Peter Tatchell (right) and others speak out against the ban on Moscow Pride.

“He should be put on trial for violating the Russian constitution – the real criminals are not the organizers of Moscow Pride, but the Mayor of Moscow and the judges who uphold this illegal ban.” – Peter Tatchell, coordinator for the British HR group Outrage!

For a full report on the press conference, check out the UK Gay News report.

Sergey Yenin’s Story

Arrested, Beaten, Threatened, Jailed and Sent for Trial Just for Taking Part in Slavic Gay Pride

… Yet PROUD of what we all accomplished in Minsk

Read Sergey Yenin’s account of Slavic Pride:

http://ukgaynews.org.uk/Archive/10/May/1902.htm

Sergey at Slavic Pride 2010

Meeting with the Organizers

Photographer’s Perspective
Written by Charles Meacham

It was with a bit of sad irony that Sergey Yenin would choose Independence Square to meet me.  The 20 year old LGBT activist who now lives in Warsaw has returned once again to Minsk with the task to help organize and lead this year’s Slavic Pride.  His goal isn’t an easy one.  Officially banned by the Belarusian government, Slavic Pride is illegal, making those that plan to break the government’s ban criminals.  But being arrested isn’t the worse scenario the LGBT community can think of.  Belarus is still rife with homophobia and several death threats have been received in recent days.  Having attended the Prides in Moscow, Sergey knows how bad things can get.

We duck down into the crowded Minsk subway and pop up by a small housing community made up of grey rectangular concrete apartment buildings.  Sergey apologizes in advance for the state of Gay Belarus’ office, but money is scarce and a room in one of the other organizer’s flat is all that is in the budget.  I am immediately offered a cup of tea and we begin to chat about our lives.  It’s hard for me, someone twice his age, to comprehend the drive of this young man – what he has already done, and what he plans to do.  The phone rings, and Sergey receives word that the printer of the first edition of the organization’s magazine has refused to finish the order due to a political sketch of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.  I suggest to Sergey to leave the space blank, but with an explanation of the empty space.  The printer agrees to do the job, and the deadline will be met.

Sergey at Gay Belarus Office

We go back down into the metro to meet a couple of Australians here doing a film documentary on the Pride.  The four of us then catch a cab and head to an apartment where Russian LGBT activist Nikolai Alekseev is staying.  Having organized Moscow’s Prides, which face similar circumstances Nikolai has in his own words “A lot of experience in such matters.”  The atmosphere in the apartment is relaxed but an air of uncertainty looms.  Nikolai gives the Australian film crew an interview, and the room falls silent.  His words are honest and inspirational.

Nikolai being interviewed

The location of the Pride is being kept a secret until an hour before the meet, and the group’s main focus is now on having not only the most effective display, but the safety of everyone involved.  When asked what he would like to achieve from Saturday’s Pride he simply answers “A peaceful demonstration and the right for discussion.”  With Saturday only two days away everyone seems to be holding their breath and waiting.

To find more updates about Slavic Pride, here’s the link to the Gay Belarus website - http://gaybelarus.by/english.html

The next pride event – Slavic Pride

The next event the WWP project is documenting will be Slavic Pride 2010, held in Minsk, Belarus.  The date was picked to correspond with the International Day Against Homophobia.

Unfortunately, the opposition has succeeded in getting the parade ban, based on a strange technicality.  In the letter the Slavic pride organizers received from city authorities, the decision to ban the parade was based on public events not being allowed to take place within 200 meters of underground pedestrian walkways and metro stops.  This is despite other marches having already taken place along this same route.  While the organizers are still appealing the decision, they also said that some type of protest will take place if the original pride march can not.

Stonewall Uprising Film (2010)

A new documentary has just come out focusing on the Stonewall riots …

“It was the Rosa Parks moment,” says one man.  June 28, 1969: NYC police raid a Greenwich Village Mafia-run gay bar, The Stonewall Inn. For the first time, patrons refuse to be led into paddy wagons, setting off a 3-day riot that launches the Gay Rights Movement. Told by Stonewall patrons, Village Voice reporters and the cop who led the raid,Stonewall Uprising compellingly recalls the bad old days when psychoanalysts equated homosexuality with mental illness and advised aversion therapy, and even lobotomies; public service announcements warned youngsters against predatory homosexuals; and police entrapment was rampant.

A treasure-trove of archival footage gives life to this all-too-recent reality, a time when Mike Wallace announced on a 1966 CBS Reports: “The average homosexual, if there be such, is promiscuous.  He is not interested in, nor capable of, a lasting relationship like that of a heterosexual marriage.”  At the height of this oppression, the cops raid Stonewall, triggering nights of pandemonium with tear gas, billy clubs and a small army of tactical police. The rest is history.

- Courtesy of Film Forum

Click here for a list of PLAY DATES

Also, here’s a link to an interesting Q+A SESSION held with the directors and original book author concerning motivations for developing this project, and the importance of Stonewall.

Gay Pride Signs – Inspiration from Manila

Playing around with Photoshop, Chad created these signs the other day.  They are based on some of the signs held up during the Manila pride march.
What do you think?

Original:

Anti-Gay Pride Protest in Manila

Photograph by Charles Meacham

New Alternative:

Gay Pride Signs

Original:

Anti-Gay Protest Sign

Photograph by Charles Meacham

New Alternative:

Gay Pride Sign

A little more positive don’t you think.

(Just a reminder, email/Facebook us any examples of your favorite pride slogans or posters, we’d like to post them!)

Best Pro-Gay Protest Signs, part 1

I was looking online today to see what pride signs I could find.  Though most are pretty spread out across the Internet, I did find some good ones.  Please send me your favorites, I’d love to post them.

Gay Pride Protest SignFrom: The 50 Best Protest Signs of 2009

Gay Pride Protest SigFrom: The 50 Best Protest Signs of 2009

Gay Pride Protest SignFrom: The 50 Best Protest Signs of 2009

Gay Pride Protest Sign

From: About.com: Political Humor

Gay Pride Protest SignFrom: About.com: Political Humor

And of course, here are some of our favorites from the Manila pride parade:

Gay Pride Sign

Photograph by Charles Meacham

Gay Pride Sign

Photograph by Charles Meacham

Photograph by Charles Meacham

You can find even more ideas for gay protest signs at: Join the Impact

Or, lots of the products available at Top Pun’s Rainbow Store also display gay pride slogans.

If you want to check out the opposition, Queeried (GLBT News and Lifestyle Magazine) has posted on article showing 10 signs from the anti-gay side, here.

Send me your favorite gay pride posters,
and I’ll share them on the blog! :D

Gay Activists Alliance International

You can now find the WWP project on the
Gay Activists Alliance International website.

GAAI Asia Pacific - Walk with Pride

A main focus of GAAI websites is to put on links to other Equality and Human Rights groups and support groups that may direct people to another essential service in their region as well as articles for the website.

The GAAI campaigns revolve around anything that we believe affects the rights oof Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersexual and other Gender Variant people–equally the GAAI highlight and campaign for Womens Rights (regardless of sexualality) and the World AIDS Campaign (WAC) – Dennis H., GAAI co-founder.

To see the other resources available on their website, the link is:

http://gayactivistsalliance-asiapacific.org