Tag Archives: human rights

Minsk Equality Festival 2011 – Organized by IDAHO Belarus *NEW PHOTOS*

The WWP’s photographer, Charles ‘Chad’ Meacham has been in Minsk, Belarus photographing the gay rights activists during Minsk’s 2011 Equality Festival.  Images include pictures of the banned Pride march, which took place on May 17, 2011.  See more photos on Chad’s website – www.CharlesMeacham.com

In Belarus LGBT Prides are illegal, and are planned out in secret by a small group of activists.

The activists face being arrested for protesting for very basic Human Rights.

The average age of activists here is 20. Almost all of them have spent time in jail.

Many have also been kicked out of their universities for their actions.

However, they keep fighting on.

See more photos on Chad’s website – www.CharlesMeacham.com

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Jerusalem Pride – July 29, 2010

Thousands marched in the Holy Land on Thursday as part of the Jerusalem LGBT equality march.

There were no floats and no DJs, as this year’s Jerusalem March was being held in remembrance for the 2 people tragically killed at last year’s LGBT youth center shooting in Tel Aviv.  An estimated 1,500 police were in attendance, more as a preventative measure, as protests were minor.

Participants marched from Independence Park to the Parliament building, where a rally was held asking the government to promote equality and help end the violence toward Israel’s LGBT community.

See Images of Jerusalem Pride and of the Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance at:

http://wwpbehindthephotos.wordpress.com
(Jerusalem Pride)

Jerusalem Pride March 2010
http://wwpbehindthephotos.wordpress.com/2010/07/30/jerusalem-pride/

Jerusalem Pride marks the 1yr anniversary of the Bar-Noar Murders

Courtesy of the Jerusalem Open House website.

On the anniversary of the murders at Bar-Noar, those injured in the attack and the families of the two murdered activists will march along with the Jerusalem Open House (JOH) and other LGBT organizations from across the state of Israel in a rally culminating with a demonstration in front of the Knesset (Israeli parliament). This Jerusalem Pride March will mark the end of a year of mourning and the beginning of a year of activism in pursuit of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) rights and the eradication of discrimination and hate.

On Saturday September 1st, 2009 an armed man clad in a black mask burst into a youth support group meeting in the basement of Bar Noar – an LGBT youth organization on Nahmani Street in Tel Aviv.  The intruder open fired, killing the group’s leader Nir Katz and Liz Terobishi, who was only 16 at the time.  Eleven others were injured, leaving two additional teenagers permanently disabled.  The perpetrator was never found.

This tragedy serves as a terrible reminder to the LGBT community that we cannot tolerate any form of discrimination, intolerance, or prejudice. Many public figures pledged their support of our efforts, including Knesset members and ministers from all corners of the political spectrum. Some of these included Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Minister of Education Gideon Saar, Minister of Culture and Sport Limor Livnat, Minister for Social Welfare Services Isaac Herzog and Minister for Minority Affairs Avishay Braverman. But how will these promises of change be implemented?

The JOH has dedicated this year’s Jerusalem Pride March to creating tangible changes in discriminatory legislation, and resource allocation. We do not seek to “provoke”, but rather to draw attention to the fact that Israeli law and public policy still discriminate against members of the LGBT community.  The time has come to take action.

The 2010 Jerusalem Pride will take place July 29.

And, here’s a program of the week’s events: Pride Events

Country Details: Gay Rights and Culture in Poland

Poland LGBT Rights:

Homosexual Acts Legal? Yes

Same-sex Relationships Recognized? No

◊ No legal recognition of same-sex unions currently exists in the Polish constitution.  Major opposition to same-sex marriages or civil unions comes from the Roman Catholic church, which makes up approximately 95% of the population, with 40% practicing regularly(1).

Same-sex Marriages Allowed? No

Same-sex Adoption Allowed? Yes and No

◊   A single gay person can adopt a child, but no joint adoption by a gay couple is allowed.

Can Gays Serve Openly in the Military? Yes

Anti-discrimination Laws? Yes

◊   Anti-discrimination laws, including discrimination based on sexual orientation, was added to the Polish constitution.

Concerning Gender Identity? Yes

Sex changes are legal, and afterwards birth certificates can be changed.

Cultural Points of Interest:

While in 2004 and 2005 the “Equality Parade” in Warsaw was banned, the country is now hosting the 2010 Europride festival.

Websites:

Lambda Warszawa – One of the major LGBT NGOs in Poland.
http://www.lambdawarszawa.org/

Gay Life – website for the Polish gay community, includes events, news, forums, etc.
http://www.gaylife.pl

Campaign Against Homophobia – a blog run by an NGO organization working in Warsaw that supports human rights and anti-discrimination.  They provide relevant news and information for LGBT persons living in Poland.  Their main website is:
http://www.kph.org.pl/

Europride 2010 – official website for Europride 2010, which runs from July 9 to 18 in Warsaw.
http://europride2010.eu/

Budapest Pride – July 10, 2010

It was incredibly hot and sunny for Budapest Pride.  However, that didn’t stop almost 1,000 people turning out for Pride.

While previous marches were held in public view, since the violence of the 2007 and 2008 Budapest Prides, the march now takes place on a closed off section of one of the city’s main thoroughfares, Andrassy Street.  Ahead of the event, organizers were in disputes with police over the length of the Pride.  While last year they were allowed to walk down the entire length of the street, this year they could only go half-way.  The police said due to flooding problems in the South of Hungary, they didn’t have enough gates to block off the whole street.

Budapest Pride Andrassy Street

Andrassy Street before the Pride

Chad and I set off around 9 in the morning to watch the gates being set up (on half of Andrassy).  We also watched them install some video cameras along the Pride route.  Around 11am, police in full riot gear turned out.  I can guess this must have been really unbearable in the July heat, as I was baking in a tee-shirt and jeans.

Budapest Pride Police

Police putting on riot gear to get ready for Budapest Pride 2010

One of the difficulties of having a closed off Pride March is deciding who to let in.  And, unfortunately, a few people who would later cause a minor disruption of the Pride procession were mistakenly let in, as well as three completely wasted individuals that proceeded to give television interviews while falling over drunk (and in general made asses out of themselves).

The march started around 4p, after the arrival of a large decorated float with music blasting from speakers onboard.  About a thousand people, including quite a few heterosexual supporters, marched down Andrassy Street.  I noticed several signs against homophobia, and against fascism.  The event reminded me very much of Romania’s GayFest, as people walked and danced down a big empty street.

Budapest Pride

Everything was going fine and was very festive until 4 right-wingers who had infiltrated the pride took a stand in front of the truck.  Not wanting to run anyone down, whoever was driving the truck decided to stop, and the police rushed out to arrest the skinheads.  However, this did cause a minor disruption to the procession, and organizers decided to turn back the march at that point as it was nearly to the end of the route anyway.

The speeches for this Pride took place before the event, so when the march had returned to the starting point those on the organizing committee began ushering participants into the closed-off metro, where police would escort them to safe exit points away from the event.  This was good in theory, but they chose to use the metro entrance right in front of those demonstrating against the Pride, instead of any of the previous 4 empty stops on the closed off street.

Budapest  metro

As you might guess the right-wing protestors just a metal barrier away from those participating in the Pride march began chanting anti-homophobic slogans.  Pride participants would respond with chants against homophobia and fascism.  While the police outside the gate kept trying to quiet the skin heads and other protestors, the volunteer organizers inside the gated area tried to do the same – encouraging people to be silent and not to provoke the protestors.

The organizers had just fears concerning safety, however this still didn’t go over well as many who had come to participate in Budapest Pride wanted to speak up and demonstrate against homophobia.  The photo below shows one young man trying to hold out his rainbow flag, as organizers link hands and try to push him away from the barricade.

Budapest Pride Rainbow

On September 4th those opposing the pride have promised to hold their own heterosexual march down Andrassy Street.

To view more images check out the WWP: Behind the Photos blog

http://wwpbehindthephotos.wordpress.com/2010/07/12/budapest-pride-july-10-2010/

Arrived in Budapest, and history of the Pride

On Monday morning we arrived in Hungary, still slightly exhausted from catching an 8a.m. flight into Budapest.  However, we are looking forward to documenting Budapest Pride.

While this year the annual Budapest Pride march will be celebrating its 15th anniversary, the march has also been plagued by escalating levels of violence.  While the first 11 marches only had only minor disruptions, starting in 2007 the events have had more violent protests.  Not only eggs, but also beer cans, smoke bombs, and other trash were thrown at participants.  The ultra-nationalists have also chanted disturbing slogans like, “Queers into the Danube, Jews after them.”  After this pride eleven attacks took place on those who had participated in the Pride.  In 2008 the Police Chief tried to deny the organizers permission to hold the Pride, but this decision was soon reversed.  However, levels of violence increased with Nationalists websites encouraging violence on the LGBT community, and publishing lists of gay hangouts – some of which were later attacked with Molotov cocktails.  During the 2008 pride, bottles, rocks, firecrackers, and gasoline bombs were thrown at the participants.

Starting in 2009 the strategy of isolating the march from public view was put into practice, and this will be the same strategy employed this year.  Unfortunately, already this year Pride organizers have had to face disruptions caused by neo-Nazis.  A dozen showed up on Sunday at the opening of the Pride festival, including two who attacked a participant leaving the event.  Again, like many of the places we’ve visited, the perpetrators of these hateful actions are youths!

Anyway, it should be an eventful time documenting this Pride, and getting to know the community hosting the march.  We are spending the early part of this week attending workshops hosted by the Pride.

To see a full schedule of programs, check out:
http://www.budapestpride.hu/en

Country Details: Gay Rights and Culture in Hungary

Hungary LGBT Rights:

Homosexual Acts Legal? Yes, since 1961

Same-sex Relationships Recognized? Yes

◊ Since 1996 unregistered cohabitation has been recognized, and registered partnerships since 2009.

Same-sex Marriages Allowed? No

Same-sex Adoption Allowed? No

◊ No joint adoption is allowed, or even the adoption of same-sex partner’s children

Can Gays Serve Openly in the Military? Yes

Anti-discrimination Laws? Yes

◊ The 2003 Act on Equal Treatment and the Promotion of Equal Opportunities forbids sexual orientation discrimination concerning employment, education, housing, health, and access to goods/services.

Legislature Concerning Gender Identity? Some

Cultural Points of Interest:

While this year the annual Budapest Pride march will be celebrating its 15th anniversary, the march has also been plagued by escalating levels of violence.  While the first 11 marches only had only minor disruptions, starting in 2007 the events have had more violent protests until in 2009 the parade march was completely blocked from public view.

Already, in 2010, Pride organizers have had to face disruptions caused by neo-Nazis.  A dozen neo-Nazis showed up at the opening of the Pride festival, including two youths who attacked a participant leaving the event.

Websites:

Budapest Pride –  The Budapest Pride main website, it has a complete schedule of events, and information about the local community.
http://www.budapestpride.hu/en

PinkVanilla.hu – LGBT portal providing news and forums.
http://pinkvanilla.hu/

Labrisz Lesbian Association – A local lesbian organization which besides providing social space, reflects on the social position of lesbian and bisexual women in a more organized form.
http://www.labrisz.hu/english

Pride.hu – Information and social portal for the Hungarian LGBT community.
http://pride.hu/