US secretary of state Hillary Clinton will inaugurate a monument to gay poet Walt Whitman in Moscow tomorrow.
According to GayRussia.ru, she will be joined by Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov, who has banned gay Pride marches and called homosexuality “satanic”.
Whitman, who was born in Lancashire and died in 1892, is often labelled as gay or bisexual by biographers, although it is not clear if he ever had a relationship with a man. However, he is often linked with gay culture.
The monument is to be unveiled in the gardens of the Moscow State University, where around 30 activists, including Peter Tatchell, were arrested by police in May for attempting to stage a gay Pride march.
Clinton, who is on a short European tour, has made a name for herself as a gay rights advocate in recent months, but it is unclear whether she will express these sentiments tomorrow.
Nikolai Alekseev, the chief organiser of Moscow Pride, commented: “Hillary Clinton will have a good chance to publicly express her position on gay rights to one of the top homophobic politicians in Europe.
“I think that no one would understand her silence on the breach of fundamental rights of LGBT people in Russia, the day she inaugurates the monument to a gay poet together with the homophobic mayor of Moscow.”
Russian gay rights activists are currently fighting to save Moscow’s oldest gay club, Club Chance.
The club leases a hall owned by the Russian Society of Blind People.
The society was told to sever its links to Club Chance during a campaign on public morality led by Oleg Mitvol, the prefect of the northern district of Moscow.
Club Chance is due to close on November 15th.