Moscow’s mayor tried to crush the city’s gay pride parade. In doing so, he did the cause of gay rights in Russia a huge service Russian gay rights …
Posted on May 21, 2009
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Russian gay rights campaigners are toasting Moscow’s homophobic mayor, Yuri Luzhkov, after he ordered the banning and violent suppression of last Saturday’s Slavic gay pride parade in the Russian capital – just hours before the Eurovision song contest was staged in the city.
“Luzhkov has done more than anyone to publicise gay rights in Russia,” beamed Nikolai Alekseev, the gay parade organiser, as we chatted on Sunday afternoon following his release from nearly 24 hours of police detention:
By stopping the gay parade he has provoked massive media coverage of our fight against homophobia. The Russian media has been full of reports about gay issues for the last week. This has hugely increased public awareness and understanding of gay people.
Slowly, we are eroding homophobic attitudes. Through this media visibility, we are helping to normalise queer existence. After our successive gay protests in Moscow since 2006, people are less shocked about homosexuality. We have a long way to go, but gradually we are winning hearts and minds, especially among younger Russians.
We ought to give Luzhkov an award. His violation of our right to protest has given us a remarkable platform, with day-after-day of publicity about lesbian gay human rights. It is the equivalent of about 200m roubles (£4m pounds) in free advertising.
AfteSee Thank you Mayor Luzhkov
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