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Complete on-the-scenes report from Gay Pride in Moscow

GLN permalink posted May 18, 2009

Many reading this have seen some of the reporting on Gay Pride in Moscow by the Gay Liberation Network's Andy Thayer. Here though for the first time are all of the articles he wrote during his participation in that remarkable event, including some not published until now.

What We Accomplished

Talking about this year's Gay Pride in Moscow, the police chief promised that "No one will dare to do it, such 'brave-heart' will be torn to shreds."

Well, we did do it. Not only did "brave-heart" Russian and Belorussian Gays and Lesbians bravely defy the macho bluster of the police chief, they also successfully skirted a series of pre-emptive arrest attempts by Moscow's "finest." Lesbians and Gays also proved that despite the authorities' vastly superior resources, the stupidity of their anti-gay bigotry was only matched by the incompetence of their repressive efforts.

Gay Pride in Moscow was an unadulterated success. As one of two Westerners who participated in it, I am proud and humbled to be associated with such brave and intelligent men and women.

By defying such intimidation, on May 16, 2009 Lesbian and Gay Russians and Belorussians made an incomparable contribution to our worldwide movement for LGBT freedom. Here is their story.

- Andy Thayer

Shortly before Moscow Pride, Russia's leading LGBT rights campaigner, Nikolai Alekseev, conducted an interview with veteran British gay campaigner Peter Tatchell and the Gay Liberation Network's Andy Thayer. Here is that interview.

Arrival in Moscow

Andy Thayer of Chicago's Gay Liberation Network on Red Square in front of St. Basil's Cathedral, midnight, upon arrival in Moscow, May 13th.

Gay Pride in Moscow: Report from a Chicago Activist

MOSCOW - After 14 hours of flights, last night I found myself in Eastern Europe for the first time in my life, warmly greeted by lesbian and gay activists who despite state repression are organizing their fourth annual pride event in this city. This year's event is dubbed "Slavic Pride," denoting the significant participation of activists from around the region.

- Read Complete Story HERE.


Edward Murzin:
A "Politician" Who Gave More For Gay Pride Than Most Gays Themselves

In the Spring of 2008, Edward Murzin was a member of a provincial Duma, the Russian equivalent of a state legislature. In Russia's increasingly undemocratic political structure, that made his seat more secure than the most gerrymandered, "safe" U.S. Congressional district.

But he did an unusual thing for a politician - something that marked him as not a politician at all. He listened to a persecuted minority within his district and despite their unpopularity, he stood up for what is right, and paid a higher price for fighting against inequality of gays than most gays themselves.

It's not like he set out to become a martyr. In his humility, he freely admits that he didn't know what he was getting into when he, as a politician, stood up for gay equality in anti-gay official Russia.

- Read Complete Story HERE.

Threats Mount Against Gay Pride in Moscow

Friday, May 15 - One Day Before Gay Pride

Moskovskij Komsololets article about first equal marriage action in Russia

MOSCOW - A front page headline in Moskovskij Komsololets, one of Moscow's major dailies, on Wednesday read "Lesbians Came to Marriage Registration Bureau Before Gay Pride," with a sub-headline of "In Moscow, rise in publicity about gay pride."

A few pages inside, another article countered with a headline of "Homosexualism 'Weakens Power of Fist': Activists Against Gay Pride Threaten Violence."

The second article told of a press conference by fascists in which they promised that 1000 of them will protest against gay pride this Saturday and would physically attack it if possible. In previous years they violently attacked gay pride participants, sending German European Parliament member Volkhart Beck to the hospital in 2006, doing the same to veteran British gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell in 2007. This year the Pride event has been banned once again, with the Moscow police chief threatening to arrest all of the participants.

On Thursday a reporter for Moskovskij Komsololets told gay organizers that police had told them that they would arrest lead Moscow organizer Nikolai Alekyeev today, attempting to decapitate the leadership of our "Slavic Pride" action on Saturday.

- Read Complete Story HERE.


Pre-Dawn, Day of the Action
After jet-lag and several nights short of sleep, now damned insomnia.

- Read Complete Story HERE.


From Depression to Elation

Return to the Country Hideaway Following the Protest

- Read Complete Story HERE.

Behind the Scenes Story
Of 2009 Gay Pride in Moscow

MOSCOW - By the time I am finally posting this, many already know the basic story of violent government repression of Saturday's Gay Pride Parade in this city.

The delay in this post comes as a result of being a participant in the action. Several hours were lost due to police detention and then feverish attempts to help our Russian and Belorussian colleagues facing far more serious situations. Finally, our Moscow police friends are now in the possession of a very fine Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ6 memory card, so this story is mainly illustrated with the help of another photographer who would lose her job if properly credited for her work.

I'll therefore concentrate on the parts of this remarkable story that people who saw the news reports still don't know:

* the bizarrely extensive lengths that the authorities undertook to pre-empt our action

* the tactical finesse shown by Pride organizers that allowed us to dodge that pre-emption, and

* my personal experience as a participant in the action.

- Read Complete Behind the Scenes Story HERE.


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