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Fireworks Already Starting in Moscow Over Banned Gay Pride as Activists Arrive to Lead it in Defiance

Last week I mentioned that Moscow officials had banned Gay Pride once again, citing security risks. Activists aren't having it. Andy Thayer, of Chicago's Gay Liberation Network, and Dan Choi have joined Russian activist Nikolai Alexeyev in Moscow for what promise to be some fireworks in defiance of the ban. Activist Louis-Georges Tim and Brit Peter Tatchell are also there. Gay Pride is scheduled for this weekend.

Alexeyev Apparently the fireworks have begun.

Pam Spaulding got a report from Choi on some TV action that went down earlier today.

Dan reports that he, along with about 20 activists from the U.S. and Europe attended Russia's version of Meet the Press. Russian LGBT rights activist, lawyer and journalist Nikolay Alexeyev debated their version of Maggie Gallagher, and the opposition (anti-gay) side was stacked with government officials and a "sexologist" demonizing LGBTs.

Choi According to Dan, the first two segments were very contentious; at the end of the second segment it became so heated that Alexeyev stormed off of the set (photo, above right, of Alexeyev after walking out) -- actually damaging part of the set -- and refused to come back for the third segment.

Instead, Alexeyev and all of the pro-LGBT attendees left the set and audience. This program aired live, so I'm sure clips will surface. Dan will have a report later; they are also planning direct action in protest of the cancellation of Pride by homophobic officials and it's likely there will be arrests.

UK Gay News is running a blog dedicated to Gay Pride in Moscow, and is keeping up with events there.

Said Alexeyev: "Next 48 hours will shape the future of Moscow Pride and LGBT community in Russia in general - and I am not joking."

Mckellen Actor Ian McKellen has also released a message in support of the activists:

“The Mayor of Moscow is a coward.Rather than face the fact that Muscovite gays and lesbians should be valued on a par with their straight peers, he panders to the right wing.  He throws them some red meat, some gays, to gnaw on.  In the 1980s, Mrs Thatcher once did the same in the United Kingdom but she was eventually defeated totally by the efforts of gay people, their families and friends, who joined together to fight injustice. I send my heart-felt support for your bravery in marching on 28 May in the land of Tchaikovsky, Diaghilev and Nureyev."

LGBT Asylum News reports:

Far-right and Orthodox Church forces are planning a counter demonstration - approved by authorities - and already held one at the site last Saturday, delayed by rain, which one of the demonstrators blamed on the [Moscow Mayor] “Sobyanin lesbians.”

“We will drive them off!” Yury Ageshchev, coordinator of the Orthodox Brotherhood of the Russian Orthodox Church told Russian newspaper Kommersant.

“True, last year we had some issues with the police and there were arrests, but this time we will not give up. It’s going to get hot,” he threatened.

The office of the police chief has said "everything is ready to prevent [the gays] marching - and arrest them."

More to come, I'm sure...

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Comments

  1. So sad that Russian officials side with anti-gay extremists than for the freedoms and safeties of their gay citizens. That country just doesn't seem to get it right ever on this issue. Major respect goes to the activists for standing up against this injustice and making it known worldwide the human rights atrocities of Russia towards LGBT citizens.

    Posted by: Francis | May 26, 2011 11:24:24 AM


  2. Dan Choi? Russia? Good Lord

    Posted by: jtramon | May 26, 2011 12:00:33 PM


  3. Lord those are some brave folks. I fear for their safety.

    That said, I wonder if it's appropriate for Choi to be there. On the one hand, it's great to have some visible American support. On the other hand, having an American taking a leadership position here might send the wrong message. I don't know... am just thinking out loud...

    Posted by: The Milkman | May 26, 2011 12:30:39 PM


  4. This Nikolai Alekeyev is a giant! On the right side of history, he is a classic example - right before our eyes - of a soul destined for undying fame and reverence.

    Posted by: Bear | May 26, 2011 1:46:20 PM


  5. For all of the homohatred we still face in the US, NOTHING compares to what Russian gays and lesbians face. Consider, our various Pride events have been going on for 41 years.

    I salute the courage of Russian gay leaders, and all those from other countries who have joined them in solidarity at personal risk. Remember Britain's Tatchell was physically attacked during a Moscow event a couple of years ago.

    Posted by: [email protected] | May 26, 2011 2:45:40 PM


  6. Adam Lambert will be onstage at the music festival in Moscow tomorrow. And they are letting him perform? strange timing.

    Posted by: gallant | May 26, 2011 3:16:05 PM


  7. What? Adam Lambert is performing in Moscow tomorrow in the middle of all this? What does that Mean? I thought he was just writing now but it so happens he'll be in Moscow tomorrow? On a stage?

    Posted by: James | May 26, 2011 4:06:56 PM


  8. Yes, Adam performing for 80 mins on stage. Poor officials, ban the parade, yet let a gay singer perform.
    Adam will convince the Rissian officials to leave the LGBTs alone, but he will do it through non-violent means = MUSIC

    Posted by: the1gypsyqueen | May 27, 2011 12:14:27 AM


  9. Dan Choi? I second that.

    And the Russian Orthodox Church makes the Roman Church seem far left by comparison.

    Posted by: ratbastard | May 27, 2011 12:34:27 AM


  10. I think Adam Lambert will do more for the LGBT movement just performing on stage than all the protests or Gay Pride parades combined. Non-violence is the answer. Changing peoples minds is done by setting positive examples for the world to see. I pray that Adam and his band will be safe.

    Posted by: SharonS | May 27, 2011 6:45:08 PM


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