Moscow | Russia

Two 'Flash' Gay Pride Parades Held In Moscow

Moscow's very homophobic mayor Yury Luzhkov may have successfully banned gay pride parades for the past five straight years, but that didn't stop activists from holding not one but two brief demonstrations earlier today. No arrests were made making this the first gay rights march in years that did not end in violence, all thanks to some good strategizing by organizers.

The Associated Press reports:

About 25 activists held a short demonstration on The Arbat, a pedestrian street lined with shops and cafes that is one of Moscow's main tourist draws. They marched for about 10 minutes, holding banners and shouting slogans such as "No discrimination on the grounds of orientation." Some observers waved and laughed, and there were no signs of hostility. Police did not try to disperse the march, but when the demonstrators saw a line of uniformed officers blocking the street ahead of them, they scattered.

A few hours later in northwestern Moscow a smaller, international group including British activist Peter Tatchell unveiled a long rainbow flag and chanted "Russia without homophobes!" and "Equal rights, no compromise!"

Tatchell tells the AP: "'Our military planning was why there were no arrests. We had to organize these parades under strict secrecy, we turned away anyone we didn't know,' he said, claiming the authorities were attempting to infiltrate the organizers."

A few videos of the second march, including one in which Tatchell is interviewed by a reporter, AFTER THE JUMP.

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  1. I couldn't be prouder of our Russian sisters and brothers!!!

    THIS, my friends, is what gay pride REALLY is about. Yeah, I go to my local gay pride parade and wave my rainbow flag as I watch the half naked men and women on floats pass by. But if you ever want to know what REAL fighting for your rights is all about, just watch the above video.

    It's good to be a queer Russian today.

    Posted by: Stephen | May 29, 2010 2:23:09 PM

  2. Peter Tatchell is an Australian, born in Melbourne in 1954. Like me he moved to the UK in the 80's, but I only stayed 5 years. He stayed permanently.

    Posted by: john | May 29, 2010 9:42:18 PM

  3. Yeah! Now, THIS is what's going to get us rights! No disgusting, oversexualized "pride" nonsense, peaceful, respectable rights marches! Show them that we're capable of acting like civilized, normal people! THAT is what will get us rights, not overly aggressive displays of sexuality. It has to be about PEOPLE and RIGHTS, not SEX!
    And if there's anything that history's shown us, it's that Russians never give up! Good luck!

    Posted by: Nastya | May 30, 2010 6:44:04 AM

  4. Nastya, give it a rest. that "disgusting, oversexualized "pride" nonsense" you're talking about is mostly a boogeyman invented by homophobes. If you look at any of the marches that have taken place across Eastern Europe, they look more like March on Washington 1993, filled with everyman, than like Folsom.

    Bratislava last weekend:

    On the other hand, it's really the trans and effeminate and "overly aggressive displays of sexuality" (like holding hands? like kissing?) that show the real tolerance of queer people by a society. Russia is definitely not there yet. We're still fighting that battle in the West.

    Posted by: Kevinvt | May 30, 2010 12:09:32 PM

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