Slavic Gay Pride: New Belarusian Group joins the Movement
Slavic Pride Organizers held their mid-year meeting in Berlin and prepared plans for next June’s Pride March in St. Petersburg
Last weekend in Berlin was held the mid-year meeting of the Organizing Committee of the Slavic Pride in which the candidature of the Belarusian LGBT group “IDAHO Belarus” was approved. The group «IDAHO Belarus» was recently created by activists who left “GayBelarus. Last December, the former Belarusian member GayBelarus was dismissed by the majority of members.
“IDAHO Belarus” is in the process of trying to be officially registered with the Ministry of Justice as the first foreign branch of the French based “Committee of the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO)”. The outcome is still not guaranteed as to date, no LGBT group were ever accepted for registration in the country.
On February 14, activists of “IDAHO Belarus” organized the first in history authorized rally against homophobia in Minsk. Even though only a dozen of activists showed up for the event which lasted only 10 minutes due to the very cold temperature (-20C), it was reported by most media outlet in Belarus but also in Russia, France, Sweden, Italy and the UK.
IDAHO Belarus Co-chair, Sergey Praded commented the admission of his group as follows:
“Joining the Slavic Pride is a very important step for us because it marks our first participation in a joint project with other LGBT organizations.
“This alliance gives us new opportunities to expand our network within LGBT organizations in other countries.
“We will bring the candidature of Belarus to host the Slavic Pride in 2013”
At the meeting of the Organizing Committee was also approved the final calendar of the 3rd Slavic Gay Pride which will take place in St Petersburg on June 25 as well as the list of nominees of the Slavic Pride Award.
Recall that the Slavic Pride movement was founded by Russian-Belarusian activists in Minsk in 2008. The first Slavic Pride took place in Moscow in May 2009 and the second in Minsk in May 2010. Both events were banned by the authorities and violently dispersed by police with participants arrested and fined by Courts.
As of today, the Slavic Pride movement is composed of the LGBT Human Rights Group GayRussia (Russia), St. Petersburg LGBT organization "Equality" (Russia), Nikolaev LGBT Association "LIGA" (Ukraine) and Belarusian LGBT group «IDAHO Belarus» (Belarus).
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.