Slavic Gay Pride
Initially founded in Minsk in the November 2008 as the union of Russian-Belarusian Pride organizers, the Slavic Pride aims to illustrate the struggle of Pride organizers in post soviet countries where freedom of assembly is still non existent for LGBT people.
The Slavic Pride aims is to show the gap between Eastern European countries who joined the EU or who are in the accession phase where Prides are authorized and can take place despite violence (Poland, Romania, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Serbia, Croatia) and other post-soviet countries where constitutional rights to freedom of assembly for LGBT people are breached (Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova). The reasons behind the denial to host such manifestations often coincidates with the lack of political freedom and the influence of the Orthodox Church in each country.
Slavic Pride organizers often face the same challenges and their desire to unite to conduct a one year event is to raise a larger attention to their struggle.
The name Slavic Pride as well as the logo and the hosting city for the first edition were all adopted during the founding meeting of the movement in Minsk. The logo which was selected is an original creation of Yuri Gavrikov which aims to symbolize wheat and a rainbow flag. The Slavic Pride has no connection with ethnicity.
The Slavic Pride March is not a separate event on its own but merge with the local Pride organized by one its member, on the same basis than the Europride or the World Pride. As a result, the first Slavic Pride was held during the 4th Moscow Pride. In 2011, the 3rd Slavic Pride will be held during the 2nd St Petersburg Pride. Branding a local Pride as the Slavic Pride helps to generate more participants and also more interest from the public and the media. The second Slavic Pride in Minsk helped to put a spot on the struggle of Belarusian LGBT campaigners and created a dynamic. This country never had any public events in years.
The Slavic Pride Organizing Committee is a non-registered organization operating under article 3 of the Federal Law on public association of the Russian Federation. It maintains no bank account and does not receive any funding. Each Member who obtained the right to host the Slavic Pride can apply to the solidarity of other members to help funding the event. For example, the second edition of the Slavic Pride which took place in Minsk was financially supported by members of GayRussia. The committee operates under certain Standing Rules.
Current members of the Slavic Pride movement as of June 2011 include:
• LGBT Human Rights Project GayRussia (Moscow, Russia), co-founder
• Equality (St Petersburg, Russia)
• IDAHO Belarus (Minsk, Belarus)*
• LIGA (Ukraine)
*As of December 2010, GayBelarus was replaced by IDAHO Belarus, a new organization comprised of most members of former GayBelarus.
Annual Slavic Pride Awards
The Slavic Pride Award is an award given by the Slavic Pride Organizing Committee every year to those who brought long supporters to Pride organizers in Russia & Belarus. The award, created in 2009, is given each year in two categories: an International Prize rewards a foreign personality for his or her commitment and support to LGBT advocates in Russia and Belarus and a Russian-Belarusian award to honor local activists and personalities.
• Peter Tatchell (United Kingdom)
• Vladimir Ivanov (Russia)
• Louis Georges Tin (France)
• Alexander Sakovich (Belarus)
• Andrew Harley (United Kingdom)
• Vlad Ortanov (Russia)
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.