Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Luzhkov Bans Moscow's Pride

Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov has decided to ban the city's first ever gay pride parade, despite vows to end discrimination, the website GayRussia reports. The Moscow Pride '06 festival was to take place 24-28 May, but now organisers are unsure whether they will be able to go through with the event.

The ban does not come as a surprise to the Russian gay movement. The situation for gays in Eastern Europe is generally poor. In June last year, the Polish gay movement ignored a ban on their Pride parade and marched through Warzaw. In July, the Pride parade in Riga, Latvia, was interrupted by protesters. Moscow is, therefore, not unique in its intolerance towards gay people.

All the same, western human rights' advocates have acted to lift the Moscow ban. Among others, Human Rights Watch, protests against the decision in a letter to mayor Luzhkov, and urges him to reconsider. It, however, seems unlikely that the golubye and rozovye will march the streets of Moscow in May.

I am perhaps naïve, but I simply cannot see what it is with homo-, bi- or transsexuality that provokes so deep reactions in Eastern Europe. This sort of bigotry, surely, does not belong to modern society, as it appears to me. I mean, what do they have to fear? An alternative way of life or general dissent from the social norm? OK, I surely do not understand everything that the HBT-movement is up to and generally take little interest in it. However, they have as much a right to freedom of speech and expression as I have. Thus, governments in Eastern Europe simply have to deal with the issue of equal rights to their citizens regardless of political affinity, religion, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation. Then they will have something to pride themselves of.

No comments: