In the first six months of hundred-day “Baltic pride” — international forum of LGBT activists and culminated in the thousands for a gay pride parade. The participants came from all over Europe, but the local population greeted the event with little enthusiasm. Representatives of radical organizations went to the streets to Express their dissatisfaction, but were unable to put up any noticeable resistance. Despite the fact that Latvia remains the most homophobic country European Union, voices of the defenders of traditional family values are sound quieter — both on the streets and in government offices. “the Tape.ru” observe an open lesson of tolerance in the Baltic.
large-Scale LGBT forum “Baltic pride” is held annually in one of the three Baltic countries, and this year it was the turn of Latvia. “Baltic pride-2018” is hundreds of events, mainly cultural and educational in nature. They began in March, but the main events occurred in the first half of June. The final event was a street procession in Riga on 9 June.
hundred-day LGBT-marathon began with great fanfare. The head of the local organization sexual minorities “Mosaic” Christine Garin said that “Baltic pride-2018” in Riga will be an important signal to the Latvian authorities and legislators of the unacceptability of the situation when representatives of sexual minorities are not considered full and equal members of society.
Indeed, if you believe the recently published results of research of the International Association of lesbians and gays in Latvia the situation is the worst in the entire European Union. Even lower among European countries located Monaco, Russia, San Marino, Moldova, Belarus and Macedonia.
not surprisingly, local activists decided to use the opportunity to announce it. The representative of the “Mosaic” Kaspars Zalitis has urged Latvians to come to the rainbow procession of families with children, not particularly hoping for participation of the local LGBT community. “More than seventy percent of participating in “Pride” — heterosexuals — complained Zalitis. — They follow their friends, for the idea, other expressions of solidarity, while many members of the LGBT community watching the procession from the side. They are afraid to go with us, afraid to get in the media because their environment can learn about their orientation, they are hiding”. Illustrating the level of homophobia in the country, Zalitis remembered how on a recent event, people were throwing excrement at members of sexual minorities.
unlike the local, the international LGBT community has supported the “Baltic pride” and word and deed. Hollywood actor Ian Mackellen, known to millions of viewers as Gandalf from the hobbit franchise, called for everyone to take part in the Riga March. He addressed “brothers and sisters”, asking them to show solidarity with the gay movement.
the participants of the pride addressed the Minister of foreign Affairs of Latvia Edgars rinkēvičs, known for the fact that he came out and became the first in the history of the state politician, openly recognized his homosexuality. In recent years, Rinkevich actively promoting the government the legalization of gay marriage, which fiercely resist the right-wing policies.
Head foreign Minister complained that many representatives of sexual minorities had to leave Latvia due to the prevailing social climate of intolerance.
“I Have a dream about Latvia which has the power in diversity and that respects and cares for the rights of all its citizens, — wrote Rinkevich, imitating the famous speech Martin Luther king. Policies which do not divide the society, manipulating hatred and aggression, and respectful to all. I also have the dream of the earth, which does not leave people just because they are different”.
Positive atmosphere somewhat spoiled by an unpleasant incident that took place in Riga for a few days before the gay pride parade. The staff of the Latvian police detained two men, a foreigner and a citizen of Latvia, publicly engaged in oral sex near the shopping centre Origo in the Central station of the capital. The foreigner was fined 70 Euro for disorderly conduct, the punishment incurred of a local resident — is unknown. Video with a demonstration of “public lewdness” widely dispersed on social networks and caused a flurry of indignation. Needless to say that the opponents of the gay parade got another reason to accuse the LGBT community of immorality and defiant contempt for the generally accepted norms of morality.
However, the procession took place as planned. It began at noon in vērmanes Park. Participants then marched through the main streets of Riga and returned to the garden. According to the Riga city police, the procession was attended by over eight thousand people, many of whom came from other countries: the UK, Denmark, Germany, Lithuania, Russia, Belarus and other States. It was people of all ages, including children. Many came with painted faces, dressed in a most peculiar way or no clothing.
the Mood of the parade was very positive. They were making faces, danced, joked, laughed. Many were holding balloons, small flags and large banners with a picture of a rainbow, flags of the Baltic countries, the EU, as well as numerous posters. Inscriptions in English and Latvian reads: “Love never lies”, “Marriage is two love, not two genders” “I kissed a girl and I liked it. I kissed a boy and I liked it. I’m bisexual. Deal with it”, “I can’t believe I still need permission for this”, “There are five hundred varieties of homosexuality, and homophobia is only one” etc.
In a gay parade was the Ambassador of Finland to Latvia Olli Rantanen and the staff of the American Embassy with a large banner U. S. Embassy Riga supports Baltic Pride (“the United States Embassy in Riga supports Baltic pride”). The crowd was moving cars with loudspeakers, sounded cheerful music, songs musicians from different countries. There was no shortage of reporters who are particularly interested in participants from countries where such processions are prohibited. “We are really not so bad — said came from Belarus Arthur. — In the bureaucracy are still people on the old look, but the society is ready to change.”
on this day in Riga from gay pride parade blocked the traffic in the city centre and even blocked some streets for pedestrians. Police worked on the enhanced plan, in order to avoid collisions. And the risk was among the residents there were those who were not limited to angry social media posts, but also found it necessary to declare publicly about their relationship.
However, unhappy was not so much. From morning to Vērmanes garden came little more than a dozen people with candles and icons. “We are representatives of the Orthodox, we don’t want to see this abomination. Our children should not see this evil. Here they are, and we must take the sword and drive them filthy broom!” emotionally said the woman who introduced Elena.
Another protest rally was held by members of the organization “Stop migration” gathered outside Merkel, in front of the house “of the Latvian society”. They labeled the event as “a protest against the promotion of homosexuality and other mental deviations”.
the Protesters, only about thirty people stood in a strict fashion, dramatically contrastirovania with frivolous costumes of the marchers. With a stern expression on their faces, they held placards that read: “rainbow — not gay!”, “No to perversion, but normal families”, “Male + female = normal”, “Get your dirty paws off our children.” Representatives of the rival parties threw at each other hostile views, exchanging insults, but throwing feces at this time is not reached.
the protests were joined by the head of the right-wing organization “Center of Gustav zelmira” Igors Siskins, at one time served in prison for extremism. He said that “although gay people were, are and will be, but parades such a plan is not necessary.” A woman with a massive crucifix in his left hand in Russian shouted in a loudspeaker: “Let these poor children will repent! The Lord is merciful, he will forgive! Not valid in Latvia Sodom and Gomorrah!”
Despite the apparent mutual aversion of the parties, the open of physical aggression, no one dared — probably due to the fact that the protesters and participants of the pride shared a police cordon and metal fences. One man, however, threw a smoke bomb demonstrators. He was detained and brought to administrative proceedings. Another, not keeping righteous indignation, threatened one of the demonstrators with physical violence, and also conducted to the police station for preventive conversations.
the Scandal, if you can call it that, erupted after the gay pride parade. Journalists discovered among its members the son of the Minister of justice Dzintars Rusnack. Eighteen-year-old Karlis Jacob rusnaks has an active social life — it can often be seen on various social events, and in school he combines with work as a model. The piquancy of the situation lies in the fact that the Latvian justice led by Rusnatcom senior, has consistently opposed the legalization of gay marriage and adoption of children by homosexual couples.
This is the common position of the right-wing National bloc, which consists of the Minister. The user Netblock constantly talking about the need to increase the birth rate. The faction of the party in the Riga city Council even called to postpone the March “Baltic pride” outside of the city. Earlier, by the way, opponents of the gay pride parade tried to collect signatures for its ban — but the management of the Internet platform for public initiatives Manabals.lv denied them.
the”Baltic pride” is not the first gay parade in Latvia — such events are regularly held in Riga since 2005. Gradually, the promotion of tolerance towards sexual minorities is bearing fruit: earlier protests against LGBT marches in Latvia has been much more supporters of traditional values. Often there were clashes between the participants of the gay parades and their opponents.
Three years ago, on 20 June 2015, in Riga hosted the “Europid” — and then the indignant voice sounded a lot louder than it is now. The Catholic Archbishop Zbigniew Stankiewicz television called to pray for the salvation of lost souls of gays and lesbians. Vice-mayor of Riga Andris Ameriks described gay festival as an “ostentatious exhibition of yourself, which is not conducive to understanding society.” The representative of the Netblock VL-TBLNNK Janis Iesalnieks resented the fact that the week of “EuroPride” coincided with the funeral date 17 June, which in Latvia is celebrated as the day of the beginning of the Soviet occupation. He said then that Latvia has two enemies — “aggressive pridism the Kremlin and imperialism.”
But that was before, and this year the number of officials and politicians who dared to speak publicly against the “Baltic pride”, has decreased dramatically. People prefer to keep their mouth shut because they understand that such statements may adversely affect career and reputation. On the question of the attitude one of the passers — middle-aged man named Gunars sadly noticed that soon the time will come, when Latvia will be unsafe to talk about personal rejection of homosexuality.