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International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia & Transphobia

GLN permalink 5-17-2011

Using protests, art exhibitions and public speaking events, people around the world will call attention to the discrimination and violence that Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people in every country face. Here in Chicago, I.D.A.HO. will be marked with an informational picket:

5:30 PM Tonight (Tuesday, 5/17)
In Front of Millennium Park
Corner of Michigan Avenue & Monroe Street

A few months ago, the organizers in the Gay Liberation Network decided to focus on the situations facing LGBTs in South Africa, Jamaica, Russia, Uganda, Brazil and the United States.

As it turns out, the last few days have seen dramatic developments in two of these countries - some good, some deeply disturbing.

In Uganda, we received reports from LGBTs in the country that there was a huge danger that the country's proposed "kill the gays" bill could pass the parliament this past week. Fortunately, parliament adjourned on Friday without passing this notorious bill which, besides proscribing the death penalty for gays in some circumstances, would have required people to report alleged gays to the authorities, or face long prison sentences.

Ugandan LGBTs reported that the threat of the passage of this bill comes in the context of an overall horrible human rights situation for all people in the country. While the ruling party has thus far blocked passage of the "kill the gays" bill, LGBT activists feared that the ruling party might move to support the bill as a way to divert attention from the country's appalling human rights situation and poverty. We have dodged that bullet - just barely - for now.

The Ugandan situation makes clear the bankruptcy of the "gay-rights-only" approach that many U.S. LGBT organizations take. Until human rights in general are on a much more secure footing in Uganda, the threat of the "kill the gays" bill or similar measures will be omnipresent. LGBTs worldwide need to be concerned not only for our rights, but for the rights of all.

IN RUSSIA, gay pride organizers in Moscow have applied for permits to hold rallies since 2006 and every year have been rejected. This past fall the European Court of Human Rights finally ruled on this wanton violation of the Russian constitution, unanimously deciding that the Russian government had violated Gay Russia's rights.

The decision, combined with the sacking of the homophobic mayor of Moscow, held out the hope that the authorities might change their tune this year. On April 12th Gay Russia made an application for a cultural event for Moscow Pride on May 28th, rather than the usual rally, as under the law this could be applied for much earlier.

Government authorities ignored their own rules which a require a response to the permit application within 14 days, and so yesterday Gay Russia again applied for a rally. Just minutes ago we learned from Gay Russia that the Moscow authorities have once again rejected this attempt to peacefully protest:

"The Moscow City Hall said this morning that the Moscow Gay Pride Rally scheduled for May 28 on Bolotnaya Square in front of the Office of the European Commission will be banned."

As Pride organizers have vowed to go forward with the protest, permit or no permit, the ban sets up a potentially violent attack by the Russian authorities on Gay Russia and its supporters.

The Gay Liberation Network's Andy Thayer and other international activists will be in Moscow to participate with our Russian LGBT brothers and sisters in this year's Moscow Pride on May 28th. Please do your part to support LGBT Russians by calling the Russian embassy in Washington and protesting the government's banning of Moscow Pride - phone (202) 338-3263 or (202) 232-5988

Moscow Pride under attack by Russian riot police, 2009.

And of course, please join us at 5:30 PM tonight (Tuesday) for I.D.A.HO. in Chicago in front of Millennium Park (corner of Michigan Avenue and Monroe Street).


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