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Gay Pride in the capital of Russia: More questions than answers!


18/09/2005. Foreign gay press reports about the desire of some gay activists to conduct gay pride in Moscow in May of 2006. The idea, which was put forth by a private citizen on behalf of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transsexuals in Russia, caused aversion amongst gays across the country and especially in Moscow.

Immediately after the press conference with Nikolay Alekseev, who announced that he would conduct gay pride in the capital of Russia, 9 gay activists from the capital of Russia brought forth a letter in which they called this initiative "provocation from the authorities," and accused the organizers of the parade of conspiring with officials from the administration of the President. The majority of those signing the letter were editors of such sites as Gayclub.Ru, XsGay.Ru, Lesbi.Ru, Lesbiru.Com, Travesty.Ru and Qguys.Ru.

"We are turning to the gay and lesbian community and to everyone who supports our battle for equal rights and we are asking them not to give in to this provocation. The organizing of such a campaign for gay pride in Moscow is harmful and most of all it is harmful for gays and lesbians themselves. Nothing good will come out of this event. It will only lead to the stirring up of homophobic forces and to the sharpening of confrontation."

The authors of the appeal call the intentions of the "self-proclaimed organizers of gay pride" "irresponsible" and note: "Having not even handed in an application for conducting the parade, he already speaks as if it is a done deal and talks about inviting "politicians from Europe" and "foreign stars."

The bewilderment amongst Russian gay activists is setting the tone of the publications of the gay parade organizer. He calls any skepticism directed at his activity, "betrayal of interest in gay emancipation," and the schemes of "gay businessmen." A well-known activist from St. Petersburg, Alexander Kukharsky of the St. Petersburg Human Rights Center "Krilija", who was the first to sign the appeal against the parade, was accused of having put at stake his authority in the eyes of the international gay community with the aim to take revenge on those who stood at the cradle of the Russian gay movement in the beginning of the early 90's. These notorious accusations under the sauce of "battle for tolerance" are flowing only because people dare to say their opinion.

The All-Russian lesbian organization PinkStar (led by Olga Suvorova), the St. Petersburg lesbian organization "Labris," the site XsGay.Ru (led by Igor Pravdin) and LGBT center "Krilya" (led by Professor A. Kukharsky) participate in many projects of the Russian National GLBT Center "Together". Despite their participation, the director of "Together," Ed Mishin, did not sign the "Collective appeal of the representatives of gay and lesbian organizations and press of Russia" concerning plans to conduct a gay parade in Moscow. Mr. Mishin believes that the idea to conduct gay pride has the right to exist. Having said this, he does not plan to support or go against one person, who has placed himself against the gay society in Russia.

Ed Mishin, the Editor-in-chief of the gay magazine "Kvir" and the site Gay.Ru, said, "Gay pride is the symbol of the unity of society and the gay community. It's too bad that in our country there isn't even unity in the gay community, and therefore it is strange to speak about the possibility of such a carnival like "Pride". Gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transsexuals will be abused physically and be subjected to derogatory remarks. However, if someone wants to walk on Red Square with a rainbow flag, that is his right."

"In our country, the only sort of "carnival" was the May Day demonstration, - continued Ed Mishin. "I doubt that a parade, in the Western understanding, can take root in Russia. In Spain, Australia and America many parades take place with one of them being a gay parade. How many parades take place in Moscow? In democratic countries, governments look at gay carnivals as a way to make money on tourism. In Moscow, it seems to me, a procession under the watch of the militia and "special militia force", will look pitiful and ridiculous. You don't have to consider the opinion of the homophobic majority. I enjoy taking part in gay pride in places where the population relates to this type of event with understanding. I am not planning on taking part in gay pride just to prove something to someone. If someone really wants to take part - it's up to them."

"There is still one more very important moment that the initiator of gay pride, Nikolay Alekseev, needs to understand, continued Editor-in-Chief of the magazine "Kvir"," - There has already been a similar case in history and it is called "Pop Gapon (people were led into the Russian Revolution of 1905 and as a result, hundreds of children, teenagers and adults were shot down - Gay.Ru) leads the people to carry on a dialogue with the authorities."

"In my opinion, this is exactly the same situation. Alekseev does not seem to be the person who can regulate the relations between homosexuals and authorities. In my opinion, he can't even get a dialogue with himself right."


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