Monday, June 30, 2008
Pride events held for the first time in several Indian cities. This is significant coming ahead of hearings by the Indian Supreme Court on the constitutionality of section 377 of the penal code which criminalises same sex activity.
BULGARIA, CZECH REPUBLIC
The far right Bulgarian National Union opposes the march in Sofia and police arrest 60 skinheads attempting to disrupt the march.
In the Czech Republic it was reported that right wing extremists used tear gas to attack the march, injuring 20.
Pink News carries a report from New York where the recently appointed Mayor was in attendance after he has indicated New York will accept marriages carried out in California and reports a turnout of over a million.
Paris, as is now usual, had a march of upwards of 700,000 people ending up in a dance party in Place de la Bastille. It included prominent politicians including leading socialist Bertrand Delanoe (gay mayor of Paris and potential presidential candidate). This year's theme was for a school without discrimination.
Coverage from Inter-LGBT with clips from French (extensive - we never had this in Britain) TV for French speakers.
I am genuinely impressed by how successful Pride (La Marche des Fiertes) has been in Paris at being political and educational at the same time.
It was followed by a service at the American Cathedral in Paris "Annual celebration of the inclusive love of God"
Berlin also held a successful CSD (St Christpher Street Day = Pride) as usual. Click here for a round up.
Why Pride is significant for us
Seeing people march for the first time in India, or to see people bravely marching under the assaults (verbal and physical) of the far right in Central Europe gives added poignancy to marching in a parade in support of LGBT equality.
Just simply saying you are gay and walking down a street will earn you physical violence in many parts of the world.
This is what is meant by the freedom of association, the freedom of peaceful assembly. But it's a hard won freedom and in many places of the world (in particular our part of the world - the European Union) LGBT communities are at the cutting edge of the fight for nothing more than the right of peaceful assembly and association.
Such rights are too precious to be taken away by the early stirrings of a new form of European fascism or the old fashioned homophobia of religious authorities.