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04/19/2007


American Anti-gay Group Cancels Family Conference in Russia over Crimea Tension

KremlinThe World Congress of Families, a virulently anti-gay umbrella organization that includes the American Family Association, Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, and NOM, has announced that it will be suspending its upcoming family summit in Moscow due to travel and logistical concerns related to “the situation in the Ukraine and Crimea.”

Right Wing Watch reports that the Brian Brown and Scott Lively-approved summit came under increased scrutiny after Russia seized Crimea from Ukraine earlier this month.

WCF’s press release, however, makes it clear that the group still stands behind Russian president Vladimir Putin’s crackdown on LGBT people.

Wcf logoThe foregoing is not meant to reflect negatively on the Russian people, churches or individuals who have taken a leadership role in the fight to preserve life, marriage, and the natural family at home and as part of the international pro-family movement.

We are proud of the accomplishments of our Russian Partners, and applaud the moves of the Russian people, through their elected representatives, to protect life, the family and the innocence of children. At a time when Western governments are moving backward to a pagan worldview, Russia has taken a leadership role to advance the natural family.

Complicating things further for WCF is the fact that Yelena Mizulina, the architect of Russia’s gay propaganda ban and one of the primary organizers of the summit, was among those sanctioned by President Obama for interfering with Ukrainian sovereignty.   


Gay Rights Activists Attacked at Feminist-Led Rally in Moscow: VIDEO

Attack_moscow

Police in Moscow detained approximately 12 men, including one with a machete hidden under his clothes, after they attacked a group of gay activists taking part in a feminist rights rally on Saturday.

QrQueer Russia reports:

LGBT activists Igor Iasine, Nikolay Bayev, Evgeniy Pisemsky, several members of the Moscow Rainbow Association and other participants of the sanctioned rally held rainbow flags and placards against homophobia and sexism.

Police detained armed thugs who made several attacks on the rally participants with rainbow flags. Attackers has knifes, a crowbar and a machete, they threw addle eggs at protesters and tried to burn a placard saying “No church, no kitchen, no state!”.

The rally was held in Moscow from Samotechnaya Square to Suvorov Square and drew about a hundred participants. The rally was held under slogans for women’s rights, anti-discrimination, against domestic violence, for reproductive freedom.

However, shortly after the rally started, the police demanded participants to take the rainbow flags away. But placards with slogans against homophobia were allowed to remain, Grani.ru reports.

Watch video of the attacks, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Continue reading "Gay Rights Activists Attacked at Feminist-Led Rally in Moscow: VIDEO" »


Russian Homophobes Target 'Open Games' LGBT Sports Festival: VIDEO

Yablotskiky

The Open Games, a five-day LGBT sports festival in Moscow scheduled to begin right after the Sochi Games and featuring more than 250 athletes from 11 countries, has suddenly been hit with cancellations by four of the sporting venues involved as well as the Hilton Hotel, GLAAD reports:

The Open Games are intended to educate guests on advocacy and social issues through sporting competitions. More than 300 people from 11 countries and 22 Russian regions registered for the games, cultural events, and ceremonies. Alongside the Russian LGBT Sport Federation, the Russian LGBT Network, Coming Out, Side by Side LGBT film festival, Rakurs, and Out Loud make up a coalition of organizations supporting the Games.

YuvakaevaElvina Yuvakaeva, an organizer for the event, said, "After several refusals from venues, we made the decision to omit most details in our negotiations with potential lenders." Despite these attempts to keep the Games' mission under wraps, cancellations rolled in only a day in advance.

Vitaly Milonov, the lawmaker behind St. Petersburg's law banning gay propaganda, and Sergei Sobyanin, the mayor of Moscow, appear to be behind the cancellations.

GLAAD adds: "Though the stakes are high and the threat of violence is tangible, the Russian LGBT Sport Federation has resolved to move forward with the Open Games, which are scheduled to run through March 2."

U.S. Olympian Greg Louganis is scheduled to attend. Earlier today he tweeted: "I am about to set forth to see a bit of Moscow, and the Opening this evening to the Russian Open Games, open to LGBTI and Ally's. Joy &Pride"

OpengamesThe Open Games reports:

As we expected, things started to happen — but on a greater scale than one could imagine. Throughout the past couple of hours, several venues cancelled their agreements with the organizers of the Open Games under various pretexts. In some of these cases, the organizers were informed about ‘calls from the administration’ that venue management received.

Hilton Hotel, where the Russian LGBT Network was planning to host a public roundtable discussion, cancelled the agreement with them as well.

It is far beyond attempts to disrupt events by homophobic groups, but a targeted and strong decision of the authorities to not let public LGBT events happen through exerting pressure on venue owners.

The Russian LGBT Sport Federation are now revising their plans and locations. We will share further information tomorrow morning (Moscow time).

Organizers are also petitioning Sir Philip Craven, president of the International Paralympic Committee, to refuse to attend the Sochi Games unless the Russian Open Games are allowed to take place in full security for all participants.

Watch a video interview by Charley Walters with Konstantin Yablotskiy (top photo), Co-President of the Russian LGBT Sports Federation and Founder of the 'Open Games', AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Russian Homophobes Target 'Open Games' LGBT Sports Festival: VIDEO" »


Pussy Riot Members May Run for Seats in Moscow City Parliament

P_riot

Two members of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot, who were jailed for nearly two years for staging a protest in a Russian church, may run for seats in the Moscow assembly, the AP reports:

Nadia Tolokonnikov, appearing alongside fellow band member Maria Alekhina at an event on the sidelines of the Berlin film festival Monday, said the move into politics "is worth a try." The election will most likely be held in September, although no exact date has been set.

Make sure not to miss their recent appearance on Colbert.


10 LGBT Activists Arrested in Sochi Protest in Moscow's Red Square: WATCH

Arrest

Earlier today we reported on the arrest of four LGBT activists protesting Sochi in St. Petersburg. Among them was Anastasia Smirnova, coordingator of a coalition of six Russian LGBT advocacy organizations.

Now, Russian media reports that 10 more LGBT activists have been arrested in Moscow: Elena Kostyuchenko, Anna Annenkov, Lynn Reid, Knicks Nemeni, Olga Mazurova, Gleb Warrior, Tarja Polyakova, Daria Starshinina and two Swedish nationals.

Watch video of the arrests, AFTER THE JUMP...

At least 23 people have been detained in Moscow, according to reports.

Continue reading "10 LGBT Activists Arrested in Sochi Protest in Moscow's Red Square: WATCH" »


Manager of Gay Moscow Nightclub Targeted in Attacks to Seek Asylum in U.S.

Arkady Gyngazov, the former manager of Central Station, a gay nightclub in Moscow which in recent months has been targeted with bullets, poison gas, and vandalism, flew to the U.S. in mid-December and plans to seek asylum, the Washington Blade's Michael Lavers reports:

GyngazovHe told the Blade he has obtained a pro bono lawyer through Immigration Equality and the D.C. Center who agreed to take his case. Gyngazov has also worked with Larry Poltavtsev of Spectrum Human Rights, an organization that monitors the Kremlin’s LGBT rights record, since he arrived in the nation’s capital.

Gyngazov said he will formally seek asylum once his visa expires in June.

“I’m not going to go back to Russia because I feel my safety, even my life, is threatened,” he said.

In December, the club's roof was dismantled by over 100 people and the club robbed. This comes after a poison gas attack in late November and a shooting in mid-November in which thugs with handguns fired on the club.

Gyngazov says it has become too much to bear:

Gyngazov told the Blade during an interview from Moscow after the Nov. 16 incident the owners of the building placed a large neon sign above the club’s entrance the month before that reads “gay club here.” It also contains an arrow that points toward the door.

“I’m afraid because I don’t know what will happen tomorrow, what will happen to me,” he said on Thursday. “I’m not going to hide all my life.”


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