Another Russian Gay Pride March Ends In Violence
For the sixth consecutive year, Moscow has forbidden a peaceful gay rights demonstration from happening within the city, and for the sixth consecutive year, equal rights advocates have defied the ban—with violent consequences.
Sadly, this isn’t a surprise. Homophobia runs very deep in Russian culture, so the same story returns year after year. An otherwise peaceful demonstration is met by violent counter protesters from radical right-wing organisations, and the end result is that the peaceful demonstrators are arrested by the police.
Banning peaceful protests is never a good idea, so I’m grateful for the bravery and dedication these men and women show year after year.
It may seem like Moscow has a long way to go, but attitude only change with visibility. When I was a teen growing up in Edmonton in the 90s, I remember a news story about the city’s first gay Pride march. A small handful of protesters stood in front of city hall with handmade signs. About one in three had their heads covered by paper bags with holes cut out for eyes. They were afraid of being identified, afraid of losing their jobs or being outed to their families. This was in Canada, only about 15 years ago. Things have changed a lot since then, and it’s happening all over the world—just at different paces.
I’m looking forward to the year, guaranteed to come, when I’ll post about the first march in Moscow without arrests or violence.
- Dozens detained in failed Russian gay pride march [Montréal Gazette]