Thursday 7 June 2012

Reason not to take Pride in Moscow

It is coming up to Pride season here in the UK. But effectively in Moscow there will not be a sanctioned Pride parade until 2112.

In Moscow applications for a parade have to be submitted not later than 30-45 days before the event. But there is no maximum time before the event that such an application has to be submitted. So gay rights activists submitted applications for each of the next 100 years. Only for City Hall to turn them all down. This decision has since been upheld by the district and city courts.

In a country where a little over 25 years ago there didn't appear to be an end to communism, where little more than 20 years ago homosexuality was still illegal, a decision has now been made that will last more than 4 or 5 times that long.

As recently as 2007 the then Mayor of Moscow Yury Luzhkov considered attempts to hold a Pride parade in Moscow as 'satanic' so I guess here in Belfast we are lucky that one of our leading politicians only thought we were repugnant last year. There has never been a sanctioned Pride parade in the Russian capital and more cities across the country are taking the same stance as St. Petersburg in banning the dissemination of any homosexual propaganda, that included health issues both physical and mental pertinent to the LGBT community that exists there.

I remember how just 22 years I was distributing literature in the USSR that was illegal to be distributed, that was the bible then. I'm sure that these bans won't last 100 years, or even 10 years. But we need to be clear when telling the Russians that there are concerns of health, suicide and well being of young LGBT individuals that without literature and advise many young people will feel that they are alone.

There are concerns that by trying to hide the Russian LGBT community it is doing untold harm to those individuals. It is on a par to what was repressed by the communists before the Soviet Union dissolved to allow greater freedom, but with that freedom comes responsibility something that those in authority seem to be ignoring with these anti-LGBT decisions.

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