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.