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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, May 7, 2010 - Volume 38 Issue 19
International News - Rex Wockner
Section One
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International News

by Rex Wockner - SGN Contributing Writer

Moldova blocks Gay demonstration
At the mayor's request, a court in the Moldovan capital of Chisinau on April 28 ruled that leading Gay group GenderDoc-M could not stage a May 2 rally in the city center in support of an anti-discrimination law.

The court said the rally, the culmination of five days of LGBT pride events, must take place in a secluded park away from downtown, to protect public order and morality.

GenderDoc-M refused to abide by the ruling and canceled the demonstration.

Moldova has previously blocked public Gay pride events and, in 2007, the nation's Supreme Court ruled that a ban of a 2006 pride event had been illegal and a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

Local officials, however, simply ignored the determination.

Chisinau pride has been beset by drama each year since its inception in 2005.

Last year, Sören Juvas, president of Sweden's national Gay organization, RFSL, was beaten up. He was stopped by Chisinau police as he left a pub and asked if he was in town for Gay pride and if he was Gay. When he answered both questions in the affirmative, he was taken to a police station, then released. As he left the station, Juvas was attacked by a group of men and suffered cuts and bruises.

"The men who attacked him were most likely police in civilian clothing or men who had been informed by the police that Sören Juvas was going to be outside the police station at that time," said RFSL spokesperson Malinda Flodman.

In 2008, Chisinau's pride march was canceled after the bus carrying the 60 marchers was halted by hundreds of snarling anti-Gay protesters who tried to pry open the door, smash the windows, and disable the engine. Police stood by and watched for more than 45 minutes.

In the end, protest leaders boarded the bus and agreed to let it pass if the Gay activists destroyed all their banners and flags, and popped all their rainbow balloons. They did so as the homophobes cheered.

"After ceasing of all materials, the two men ordered to unblock the bus and let it go," said GenderDoc-M's Boris Balanetkii. "The bus headed towards GenderDoc-M office, followed by a car with members of the crowd. Participants left the office in dispersed groups on alert of possible repeated attack by the crowd. Another crowd of approximately several hundred people surrounded GenderDoc-M office demanding that pride participants exit the office. ... The office remained blocked for several hours."

All other remaining pride events also were canceled.

In 2007, despite the fresh Supreme Court ruling, city authorities banned all public pride activities, saying they threatened public order, offended Christians and promoted sexual propaganda.

Despite the ban, Gay activists attempted to lay flowers at a monument to victims of repression. They were stopped by police, who falsely claimed that a permit was required for the action. Activists then deposited the flowers at the officers' feet.

Later that day, about 20 activists went to City Hall and stood in front of it for 15 minutes with their mouths taped shut with rainbow stickers. Police allowed the protest and protected the activists from 30 counterdemonstrators from an extremist youth organization.

This year, pride events other than the canceled rally proceeded unimpeded. They included press conferences, workshops, a successful laying of flowers at the anti-repression monument, an awards ceremony, an art exhibition, a safer-sex-promotion party, a concert, a disco party, and the highly anticipated "International Transvestite Beauty Contest 'Miss Flawless Queen 2010.'"

Gay film festival for India
India saw its first big Gay film festival April 22-25.

Mumbai's International Queer Film Festival 2010 presented more than 100 films at the PVR Cinemas multiplex and elsewhere.

The sometimes censorious Information and Broadcasting Ministry kept its hands off the festival, approving all 110 movies without any cuts.

A Delhi High Court ruling last year decriminalized Gay sex in India.

Gay film festival banned in Siberia
A traveling version of St. Petersburg, Russia's Gay film festival, Side by Side, was banned in the Siberian city of Kemerovo on April 17 but was a big success April 15-18 in Novosibirsk.

The Kemerovo festival was scheduled for April 17-19 at the city-owned Palace of Youth and the private Planet Cinema. But on the day the event was to begin, the city withdrew support for the festival and also pressured Planet Cinema to back out.

In addition, the director of the shopping center in which Planet Cinema is located received a telephoned threat that if any Gay films were screened, electricity to the entire shopping center would be disrupted.

Local organizers Maria Shulaeva and Alexey Levin scrambled and found another location for the films, which, in the end, screened over three days.

In Novosibirsk, Russia's third-largest city, the scene was much different.

Some 700 people attended four days of movies, and the festival received support from local officials and media.

Vladimir Miller from the city's Department of Culture attended the opening events and declared, "We are building an open democratic society and are sympathetic to the theme of the festival."

The festival included Lida Mikhailova's "Coming Out of the Closet" photo exhibition, a lecture on early Gay cinema in Germany, and three panel discussions on Gay parenting, LGBT rights, and coming out.

Gay marriage to be legalized in Finland
No matter who wins Finland's next elections, Parliament is expected to legalize same-sex marriage and adoption.

The Helsingin Sanomat newspaper reported that its surveys have found minimal opposition to the plans among the larger political parties - the governing Center Party, the Social Democrats and even the conservative National Coalition.

IDAHO is May 17
The International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) is May 17 this year.

ILGA-Europe - the European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association - will stage a "Rainbow Buzz action" in the center of Brussels' European Union quarter.

"We are planning to distribute flyers summarizing our key demands. The 'Rainbow Buzz' action will culminate in a release of 300 rainbow balloons," the group said.

Worldwide IDAHO events this year include a campaign against religious homophobia (see idahomophobia.org) and the Great Global Kiss-In (see gays.com/idaho).

China lifts HIV travel ban
China lifted its ban on HIV-positive visitors April 24.

The State Council also lifted travel bans on people with leprosy and sexually transmitted diseases.

Bans remain in place for people with tuberculosis, serious mental illness and infectious diseases "which could possibly greatly harm the public health."

With assistance from Bill Kelley

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