Gay Pride Comes in All Sizes Around The World

As the world’s biggest gay
hotspots gear up to celebrate Gay Pride this month, lets not  overlook the small steps, smaller cities, states and countries are making as well.

Last month 3.5 million gathered in Sao Paulo for Gay Pride !
This month 1 million will gather in Toronto  and half a million will celebrate in Chicago !

2 small and short Gay prides took Moscow  by surprise last month.  Two Gay Pride “parades”  were held without arrests in Moscow, the first time the notoriously intolerant Russian authorities have not intervened since the inaugural attempt to hold the event in the capital in 2006.

The activists’ spokesman claimed that the absence of harrasment, beatings and detentions was due to their “military planning” rather than any kind of warming toward non-traditional orientation among officials.

Moscow riot police typically disperse such gatherings with brute force, emboldened by declarations from city Mayor Yury Luzhkov equating homosexuals with the devil. About 25 activists held a short demonstration, about 10 minutes,  on The Arbat, a pedestrian street lined with shops and cafes that is one of Moscow’s main tourist draws.

One of the world’s smallest queer coolspots: glacier-bound Greenland, which just a few weeks ago quietly marked a major LGBT milestone by pulling off its impressive Pride debut.

The May  Pride event in Nuuk, the capital, drew over a thousand participants — which may not seem like much, until you know that only 57,000 people actually live in Greenland. (Put another way, that’s like five and a half million Americans showing up for the first New York City Pride.) Reps from the country’s gay-friendly Democratic Party marched at the front of the parade, and Greenlanders of all ages and persuasions joined in, turning it into the second largest demonstration in the nation’s history.

It was a watershed day for Greenlandic gay history . “This was the first [LGBT] event that was widely publicized,” says Jesper Kunuk Egede, a Greenlander by birth, who, like many of his countrymen, now lives in Copenhagen. Despite a recent push toward full autonomy, Greenland is still officially part of the Kingdom of Denmark, and it’s here that many Greenlanders spend at least a few years away from their sparsely populated island.

Thanks to its relationship with Denmark (which pioneered registration of same-sex unions in 1989), Greenland was actually the fourth country in the world to establish a registered domestic partner law in 1996. Surprisingly, Egede says the law hasn’t necessarily translated into openness for Greenlandic gay couples. ” I know only of one couple who have actually had their same-sex union in Greenland,” he says. “But I’ve heard of others who were married in Denmark and moved to Greenland.”

IN BIG CITIES, we take Gay Pride for granted. We have to remember, just because we are out in large numbers for that one day, we have NO RIGHTS! And there are people who still hate us.

I applaud the marchers in Bratislava last month. About a thousand marchers in Slovakia’s first Gay Pride parade in Bratislava came under attack by several Neo-Nazi skinheads last month, which thwarted the event, despite the presence of approximately 200 (?)police to protect the marchers.

According to Slovakia Today, the gay rights supporters had come together for a festival they called “Rainbow Pride Bratislava 2010”.   Organizers were quick to defend themselves, saying that despite the parade being thwarted, their festival would continue through Saturday night and Sunday morning with a series of concerts.

Prior to the planned parade, extreme Neo-Naxis and some Catholic groups had tried to prevent the event. About 80 skinheads descended on the marchers, hurling stones, tear-gas cans, rocks and eggs.

The large police presence was mostly unable to protect the marchers from the attack, despite warnings that an attack was imminent and eight skinheads were eventually detained by police.  Eight? seriously? and you 200 Police??

Discrimination against GLBT people continues to this day, in ways that are both overt and subtle. We started this journey 40 years ago  and  there are far too many countries in the world where lesbians and gay are still oppressed and denied rights based upon their sexual orientations. Even here in the US – we still have no equal rights from our government!  We must continue to celebrate our diversity and stand up proud and be counted. And don’t stop until we have the equal human rights, we deserve.

While we celebrate pride as a world-wide gay community once a year, we need to live with pride and self-esteem as individuals all year around!

Happy  Pride!


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