2011: First March for Equality
On May 17, Day Against Homophobia, IDAHO Belarus hosted its first Equality March in Minsk. The action was not authorized by the City Hall which turned down the 100 applications sent by the organizers. In response to this breach of their right to freedom of association, organizers staged a short unsanctioned March in the city during which they managed to avoid arrest and anti-gay protesters as the time and location of their action was not disclosed in advanced. To marking this event, the demonstrators chose to conduct a funeral procession symbolising the death of gay rights under the illegal dictatorship of Alexander Lukashenko. They carried a make-shift coffin, funeral wreath and rainbow flags and banners, along a major arterial where the procession stopped to conduct a funeral service.
Previously, a three-day festival took place from May 14 during which the documentary “East Bloc Love” by Film Director Logan Mucha, co-produced by GayRussia was shown for the first time in Belarus. This documentary featured the Slavic Gay Pride which took place the previous year in the city. Also, the organizers staged a photo exhibition “Images Against Homophobia”, a global initiative which take place simultaneously in more than 25 different locations across the world for this year’s IDAHO. A conference about LGBT rights co-presented by IDAHO Belarus & GayRussia welcomed over 80 participants at Mink's Crowne Plaza hotel.
For more information, visit GayRussia’s partner website www.idahobelarus.org
All related articles on the 2011 Minsk Equality March (click below):
- Minsk Equality March ban appealed to Court
- LGBT Activists hold their banned Equality March and avoid police arrest
- 20 Arrested in Minsk During ‘Flashmob’
- Gay Equality Festival Opens in Minsk Without Incident
- Minsk City Authorities Ban Equality March Scheduled for May 17 on the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia
- First Minsk Equality Festival will be held from May 14 to May 17
- Belarusian Gay Activist: “If Everyone Sits at Home Will Things Ever Change?”
TODAY IN HISTORY
In 1993, President Boris Yeltsin signed a decree which repealed the law forbidding male homosexuality. Starting from 2006, Russian gay rights activists started to celebrate this date by attempting to organize an annual gay rights march known as Moscow Gay Pride. The first edition was banned and marred with violence. It was reffered as the first Russian Stonewall.
This day was founded in 2004 by French Academic Louis-Georges Tin to mark the anniversary of the declassification of homosexuality from the list of disease by the World Health Organization. Russian LGBT have been celebrating this day every year since 2005 under the leadership of Project GayRussia which was itself founded on May 17, 2005. GayRussia is Russia's coordinator of IDAHO.
Following Moscow in May 2009, Minsk was the second capital to host the Slavic Gay Pride. The March was banned and marred with violence but it did not prevent two dozens of Pride organizers from Moscow, Minsk and St. Petersburg to march over 300 meters waiving a 10meters long rainbow flag. 11 participants including some of the organizers were brutally arrested by police forces.
2009 marked the launch of GayRussia's campaign for the opening of same-sex union of gays and lesbians in Russia. While the Constitutional Court already expressd the opinion that marriage is between a man and a woman, activists believe that the lack of partnership or marriage for gay couples is a strong point to impose legislative changes via a decision of the European Court of Human Rights.
The five-judge panel of the Grand Chamber of the Court rejected the appeal of the Russian Federation in the Moscow Pride Ban case. The decision given on October 21 is final. By repeatedly banning Gay Pride Marches as well as other LGBT themed public action, Russia breached the European Convention on Human Rights.