Cyprus holds first ever Pride march, organisers push for same-sex unions
Cyprus has held its first ever pride march, with organisers hoping to draw attention to poor LGBT rights in the country.
Hundreds of people joined the march with rainbow flags today, as they marched through the Cypriot capital of Nicosia.
Costas Gavrielides, head of Accept LGBT Cyprus, said the government were failing to deliver on pledges to introduce same-sex unions in the country.
He said: “Nothing has happened to improve the legal rights of LGBT since 1998.
“We are strongly pushing for this to materialise … We believe that society has moved on much more than politicians.”
He added that social attitudes are changing and that the Pride march would push LGBT rights forward and put the island’s LGBT community “into the limelight”.
The group was supported by ILGA Europe, whose board marched in solidarity with the Cypriots.
ILGA-Europe chief Evelyne Paradis said: “Over the course of the last five years, the strength of the movement in Cyprus has grown substantially and showed that Cyprus is affirming its will to be on the right side of history”.
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Co-Chair Gabi Calleja added: “Political leadership is now needed in support of LGBTI rights and an emerging LGBT community.
“One important step is to take concrete actions in implementing the Civil Partnership Bill that would give the necessary legal recognition to same-sex couples and their families.”
The Cyprus Orthodox Church has described being gay as an “illness which needs treatment.”
(Photos: Roberto Luca)