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Mon, Feb 12


TEDDY goes to Russia
Guest Column by Imke Seehorst

“Moscow is not Sodom“

“Moscow is not Sodom“ and “Gays get out of Russia“ screams the mob, religious-orthodox activists, umbrella-armed Babushkas, and young right-wing extremists are lined up in the pouring rain on May 27th 2006 to anticipate Moscow’s first Gay Pride with every negative intention possible.

The photos of brutal assaults by the radical counter-demonstrators against the participants of the march, which was also attended by numerous international guests and observers, made its way through the media. Millions of spectators witnessed Volker Beck, who is a member of the German Parliament, as well as a few other demonstrators being attacked and hurt right in front of the Moscow city hall.

Video: MOSKVA. PRIDE ’06
(clip 1)
Video: MOSKVA. PRIDE ’06
(clip 2)
Article: Russian Government Supports Freedom of Assembly for Gays
In a remarkable statement on the banning of Moscow Gay Pride last year, the Russian government has strongly supported the right of sexual minorities to freedom of assembly. The statement was made by the Russian Federation in its role as Chairman of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, a position it held from August 2006 to January 2007.

The accompanying parade to the event in May, which was aimed to raise awareness for discrimination of lesbians and gays in Russia, was filed as a demonstration “for the Protection of the Rights of Gays and Lesbians.” Unfortunately, the outcry for help and awareness, which was the main point of the parade came pretty close to a self-fulfilling prophecy, taking into account the demonstrative statements of Moscow mayor Luschkow. He prohibited the parade stating that, these rallies might provoke negative reactions against its homosexual participators lead into disruption of the law and order.

Video: Andrea Winter interviews Kristian Petersen / Producer "Fucking Different New York"
Following on from the Berlin-based film FUCKING DIFFERENT, Kristian Petersen asked six gay and six lesbian filmmakers from New York to make a short film taking a look at how they envisage the love life of the other sex. Each filmmaker was given a free hand in their choice of format and genre.
Video: Interview Andre Salas / Director "Fucking Different New York"

Luschkow methodically asked for support from prominent, specifically prominent religious groups, rowing collectively against elemental human rights. Alexij II, whom is the patriarch of the Orthodox Church in Russia, says that CSDs are campaigns to create perversions in the Russian nation. Luschkow also called on the grand mufti of Russia, Talgat Tadzhuddin. Back in February when talking about the first planned “Moskva Pride, “he called out to all the “normal men, “ no matter if Muslim or Orthodox, to beat up the homosexuals when they’re seen in the streets. In comparison, the name-calling of gays as “sexual perverts“ by the Russian head rabbiner Berl Lazar appears sort of liberal. In addition, he expressed his pity for those poor people who lost their way.

Video: Interview Felix Endara / Director "Fucking Different New York"
Video: Interview Todd Verow / Director "Fucking Different New York"

Since 1999 homosexuality has not been regarded as a mental disease. One does not have to fear being obligated to take “therapeutic” psychotropic substances since they have no longer been forced upon people since the 1980s. The chase has been a practice that has dated back to the Middle Ages. Surprisingly or maybe for some not so surprising, the forbiddance of the 2006 demonstration on the grounds of “security

Each day guest columnists from different regions tell their stories and explain the political situation for queer people in their native country.

concerns” was confirmed on August 2nd by the Moscow court. Simultaneously, the appeals court announced that the forbiddance of the demonstration is a just act. Luschkow was delighted with this decision and he declared so proudly. He considered the demonstration “primarily due to moral and ethic reasons, illegitimate. “

The other day, we have reached the year 2007, Luschkow (whom is still the ruling mayor of Moscow) declared also this year there will be no gay parade “that deserves no other name than a satanic show.” Propagating homosexual relationships is “blasphemy in disguise as rights of artistic expression and rights of freedom of speech” and, therefore, undue. Huh.

Video: Überwachungskamera
Video: Diana Naecke interviews Christoph Heller / Director "Überwachungskamera"

“The organizers of the pride appeal the decision at the European Court of Justice in Strasbourg. The second “Moskva Pride“is scheduled for May 2007 and has the motto: “LGBT Rights Are Human Rights!”

The program will include a festival, a conference, and several cultural events that will start on May 25th and reach its climax on May 27th. This will be the day of the Gay Pride Parade. This date was set on purpose, because it’s the anniversary of the de-criminalization of gay practices among adults. Adopted under Stalin in 1933, paragraph 121 punished adults committing homosexual acts with up to five years of forced labour. It was finally abolished on May 27th 1993.

Recently, on February 1st 2007, Russian president Wladimir Putin, as first Russian president ever, gave his opinion about homosexuality. During his annual winter press conference, which is aired by national television and attended by hundreds of Russian and foreign journalists, Putin was asked about his opinion about Luschkow’s comment, if gay parades are satanic by a correspondent of Agence France Press.

Article: Russia: Putin makes historic statement on gays
Things have been a little sticky over in Russia. Gay rights activists are out for judicial blood over Moscow's banned gay pride parade and have promised to take the matter to the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, Moscow's mayor, Yury Luzhkov recently equated homosexuality with satanism. Luckily, Russian President Vladimir Putin's keeping it all together. Or, something.

The interpretation of his answer varies. Some say, i.e. the website of the national press Russis`s Novosti, Putin gave a signal which meant that he supported Luschkow’s prohibition of the “Moskva Pride.” Others, among them Pride organizer Alekseev, take it as a positive signal, even a breakthrough, that Putin declared to respect the rights of sexual minorities and that prohibiting yet another parade, would be a contradiction.

However this whole story might end, at least Elton John is considering being on stage at the Gay Pride 2007. On top of that, based on the hospitality of the organizers, he wants to bring along the Scissor Sisters and the Pet Shop Boys, being well aware that Moscow is not Sodom, but purely Moscow.

Today´s Column by IMKE SEEHORST