Thursday, May 25, 2006
MOSCOW GAYS WON'T BACK DOWN
Defying a rising tide of homophobic threats, activists and others say this Saturday's Gay Pride parade in Moscow will go on.
Peter Tatchell, member of the queer rights group OutRage! and the left wing of the British Green party, writes in the Guardian that much of the anti-gay sentiment that is sweeping Russia has been whipped up by religious leaders. Threatening violence against Moscow Gay Pride, the chief mufti of Russia's Central Spiritual Governance for Muslims, Talgat Tajuddin, said: "Muslim protests can be even worse than these notorious rallies abroad over the scandalous cartoons."
"The parade should not be allowed, and if they still come out into the streets, then they should be bashed. Sexual minorities have no rights, because they have crossed the line. Alternative sexuality is a crime against God," he said, calling on members of the Russian Orthodox Church to join Muslims in mounting a violent response to Moscow Gay Pride.
Russian Orthodox leaders responded by lobbying Mayor Luzhkov to ban the parade. A spokesperson declared that homosexuality is a "sin which destroys human beings and condemns them to a spiritual death".
Not to be left out, Russia's chief rabbi, Berl Lazar, said that if a Gay Pride parade was allowed to go ahead it would be "a blow for morality". He stopped short of calling for violence, but warned that the Jewish community would not stand by silently. "Sexual perversions", he said, did not have a right to exist. Lazar declared that Gay Pride marches were "a provocation" similar to the cartoon depictions of Mohammed.
For a related Oread Daily article go to "UGLY RELIGIOUS SKINHEADS ATTACK GAY CLUB IN MOSCOW" at http://oreaddaily.blogspot.com/2006/05/ugly-religious-skinheads-attack-gay.html
The following is from Gay.com
Activists set to defy Moscow Pride ban
Veteran British human rights activist Peter Tatchell and other international activists have pledged solidarity with the Russian LGBT community and will join gay activists in defying a ban on this Saturday's Gay Pride march in Moscow.
Despite Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov's threat of mass arrests and the threat of violence from nationalist and religious leaders, the activists will participate in the first Gay Pride gathering in Russian history.
It will take place Saturday, the 13th anniversary of the 1993 abolition of Soviet-era laws against male homosexuality.
Mayor Luzhkov has said he will not allow a Gay Pride parade "in any form" and that any attempt to march in the streets will be "resolutely quashed." Last week city officials denied the parade organizers' application for a permit.
"Of course we will not proceed on the same route that we applied for in the application, because there will not be enough security and there will nationalistic groups who will gather in the same place and try to disrupt events," parade organizer Nikolai Alexeyev told the BBC.
"We will have to find other options to go and realize our constitutional rights," he said. "It will be some kind of different gathering somewhere in the city."
Luzkhov also threatened to forbid a parallel gay rights conference and festival, which nonetheless kicked off Thursday morning at a Moscow hotel, according to the Interfax news service.
The mayor's decision follows anti-gay comments made by the leader of Russia's Muslim community, which threatened violence if the planned Moscow Gay Pride parade goes ahead. Condemnations of gay people and the gay parade have also been made by Russia's chief rabbi and the leaders of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Luzhkov's intransigence, despite urgings from international leaders and rights groups, earned him a place in this year's Human Rights Watch "Hall of Shame" for promoting prejudice against the LGBT community.