Tag Archives: homophobia

Minsk Equality Festival 2011 – Organized by IDAHO Belarus *NEW PHOTOS*

The WWP’s photographer, Charles ‘Chad’ Meacham has been in Minsk, Belarus photographing the gay rights activists during Minsk’s 2011 Equality Festival.  Images include pictures of the banned Pride march, which took place on May 17, 2011.  See more photos on Chad’s website – www.CharlesMeacham.com

In Belarus LGBT Prides are illegal, and are planned out in secret by a small group of activists.

The activists face being arrested for protesting for very basic Human Rights.

The average age of activists here is 20. Almost all of them have spent time in jail.

Many have also been kicked out of their universities for their actions.

However, they keep fighting on.

See more photos on Chad’s website – www.CharlesMeacham.com

President of the European Parliament Marks International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia

STRASBOURG, 11 May 2011 — Yesterday, President of the European Parliament Jerzy Buzek inaugurated a photo exhibition on European gay prides. The Polish centre-right President addressed Members of the European Parliament, staff and visitors. Mr Buzek declared that homophobia had no place in the European Union, and that human rights were unalienable, including for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.

Jerzy Buzek officially marked the International Day Against Homophobia for
the first time in 2010 via video message. The President of the European Parliament was joined by Members of the European Parliament Ulrike Lunacek and Michael Cashman, Co-Presidents of the European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBT Rights, and Charles Meacham, author of the photographs.
After the event, Michael Cashman and Ulrike Lunacek declared: “We are
proud to be members of a Parliament that represents 500 million Europeans,
and which stands ready to defend the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual
and transgender people. The genuine and heartfelt engagement of Jerzy
Buzek, a Polish EPP President demonstrates that homophobia no longer
belongs to mainstream EU politics. We are grateful to Mr Buzek and all our
colleagues for helping LGBT people live their lives freely, and without fear.”
Since 2006, the European Parliament adopted five resolutions demanding
that LGBT people’s human rights be respected in Europe, reminding EU
countries that banning pride marches breaches the European Convention on
Human Rights. Over 180 European pride marches will take place in 2011,
from Iceland to Malta and from Portugal to Russia.

The exhibition contains 20 images by award-winning photographer Charles
Meacham, from New York. The photographs will be shown in over 20 locations around the world, starting in the EU Parliament from 9 to 12 May. About the International Day Against Homophobia 17 May is the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. Each year, the date marks the anniversary of the 17 May 1990, when the World Health Organization announced it would remove homosexuality from its official list of mental disorders.

European Union Press Release, www.lgbt-ep.eu/

SEE IMAGES FROM:
EU Parliament Exhibiton Opening,
May 10, 20011

View ‘Images Against Homophobia’ – Online Exhibition

View the online slideshow of the ‘Images Against Homophobia’ exhibiton!           Click Here!

Images Against Homophobia
Online Exhibition

Images Against Homophobia Book Available NOW!

2011 Walk With Pride – IDAHO Exhibition

The Walk With Pride project is partnering with the IDAHO Committee (organizers of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia) to organize a global exhibition in over 15 cities around the world in recognition of IDAHO day on May 17, 2011.  This includes an exhibition to be held at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France.

See if there is an exhibition near you on our Upcoming Exhibitions page.

The WWP project is still accepting applicants to take part in this global exhibition.  If interested please contact  us at: wwpproject@yahoo.com

To find  more information on IDAHO visit: http://dayagainsthomophobia.org

Homophobia

While doing this project to photograph international Prides, we’ve also witnessed homophobia in a variety of forms.  From the religious fanatics with their bible quotes, to young skinheads who look barely over 15, to government homophobia in places like Belarus and Russia, and even the appearance of a small group of Nazis at Lithuania’s first Pride, we’ve seen a lot of hate.  What always surprises us is the contrast between the scowling angry protestors and the smiling happy pride participants.

While homosexuality is not a choice, homophobia is …

View the Homophobia Gallery at the CharlesMeacham.com website.

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

First St. Petersburg Pride taking place June 26, 2010

While the WWP project is in Sofia, Bulgaria, this weekend for the pride march, we will unfortunately be missing St. Petersburg Pride in Russia, the city’s first.  Like Moscow pride, this event has been banned by the government and under threat from national extremists.  In addition, no foreign consulates have showed any support against the human rights violations taking place.

Despites threats of violence the pride march will stake place this Saturday, June 26.

Please know, Our thoughts are with you, and we hope for a safe Pride!

The organizers of the Pride are currently collecting signatures for an open letter to the the Government Representatives of the Russian Federation –

If you have a moment, and value Human-Rights please take a second to sign this.

Saint Petersburg LGBT Pride

Preparing for Sofia Pride

In just a few days Sofia will have its 3rd Pride march, which means both supporters and protesters of the Pride are getting ready.  There has been a flurry of letter writing on both sides, which has been appearing in the local and international media.  From those opposed, a joint declaration was issued by 25 Bulgarian organizations condemning the Pride, while letters of support and solidarity concerning Sofia Pride have arrived from several foreign Ambassadors and international LGBT groups.

This morning we joined Marko and another LGBT activist at the National Bulgarian radio station as one of the radio programs was going to focus on the upcoming Pride.  A representative from a local family-values group (who looked to be in his early 20s) also arrived at the show to provide the opposing viewpoint.

National Bulgarian Radio

National Bulgarian Radio

This young man, who claimed not to be a homophobe, but instead a “concerned citizen”, came prepared with many “facts” concerning homosexuality, including that those in the LGBT community live 20 years less, 70% have AIDS, and that legalizing prostitution is core on the gay agenda.  He therefore concluded that their choice to be gay was illogical (!) Again, what is admirable about Marko and his friend, as well as many of the activists we’ve met during this trip, instead of getting angry at this idiocy they instead tried to talk reasonably with him.  It didn’t work as it concerned him, but they did present a reasonable counter-argument for the radio program.

When the organizers for the Pride are not being kept busy doing awareness and promotion within the community, they still have a mass of other activities to do to get ready for the Pride.  While we left Marko after the radio show, we met up with more members of the Sofia organizing committee that afternoon as they prepared signs and had a security briefing.

Sofia Pride 2010

Sitting around a laptop, the group of 12-15 volunteers watched footage of the 2008 Pride where Molotov cocktails had been thrown.  Photos of some of the main aggressors against the Pride were passed around, and strategies discussed on how to deal with the opposition.  To add insult to injury, not only do they have to deal with these hateful individuals that wish them harm, but they have to personally pay the city police to protect them from these guys.  This is a serious problem as the cost for the needed police protection (caused by the aggressive protestors) runs in the thousands of Euros!  Not easy for a small Pride.  Already they have been forced to cut the length of the march and afterwards gathering by half, down from 4 hours to only 2 hours, because of the cost for police.

While only days before the main pride event, the group is still raising money to cover some of the necessities.  (see here for more details)

Zagreb Pride 2010 – June 19, 2010

Zagreb Pride was energetic and colorful, with over 500 participants in attendance.  While outrageous costumes are not the norm for this pride, there were lots of rainbows and balloons to give the event a festive feel.  The march route started at a large square in town – the “square of the victims of fascism”, and went along city street to Zagreb’s main square (where the anti-Pride march was taking place), before it headed South to end up in a big park – Park Ponosa.

With the sound of beating drums, whistles, and Pride cheers, the march proudly proceeded by watching bystanders toward Zagreb’s main square.  Police in riot gear walked next to participants, forming a moving blockade around the group.  The city had granted permission for members of the youth faction of a right-wing group to protest in the main square.  Made up of around 60 teenagers and young adults, these anger filled youths yelled oaths and obscenities at the marchers.  The police had wanted the march to go on the far South side of the square, behind the kiosks, and far away from the anti-gay protesters.  However, the pride leaders refused and won the right to march proudly in the streets of Zagreb’s main square, instead of the far sidewalk.  While the protesters were kept back by a metal barricade and a human barricade made up of police, there was still a defining moment during the pride when the two sides faced off.

When the Pride first reach the main square it halted, as the parade spread out so participants could look upon the haters.  The marchers chanted and blew whistles, with several raising two fingers to display the peace sign.  Those against the march, and the people in it, raised their fingers in a different gesture, shouted obscenities, and I saw one guy showing his dissatisfaction by unbuttoning his pants to flash marchers.  This whole scene lasted only a few minutes, before the Pride started up again and continued down another block.

At this point some of the protestors tried to follow the Pride by making a dash through the inside of mall, but were stopped by police, with some being arrested.  Caught on tape, there is a footage of one of these homophobic kids telling the police that if he is arrested his mother would kill him at home (a rough translation), at which point he was brutally kicked in the head.  Note: The officials of Zagreb Pride have come out to condemn this action, labeling it as disgusting behavior.

At the fenced off park, the Pride ended with speeches and music.  There was a release in tension as the march had successfully ended.  Unfortunately, it also gave a false sense of security, as the whole thing isn’t really over, especially as the right-wing youths filled with aggression aren’t ready to give up and go home for the night.

At the park I had talked with a Bosnian girl who had grown up in San Francisco, she had left the park to go get some food with two Norwegian guys – tourists that hadn’t know about the Pride before, but had decided to join in.  Later that night when we returned to the artist collective for the after party we saw her again, they had been attacked.  Eleven young guys had jumped them from behind, punching and kicking all three.  That same evening two other local participants of Zagreb Pride were attacked by young thugs who recognized them from the Pride.  It such a shame that such a positive event is marred by violence, and the huge cowardice of these attacks.

However, I’d like to think not of the haters, but the several people I spoke with who were attending this as their first Pride after coming out, and how much participating in this event had really meant to them, and to all those there in support of pride.

Here are some more videos:

Anti – Pride

Pictures coming soon to our main website,
http://walkwithpridenow.com

And, if you like our work, don’t forget to join us on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/WWPproject