A straight-identifying seventy-year-old grandmother this week lodged three applications with Mayor Sergey Sobyanin for Moscow Gay Pride which is to be held at the end of the month. She says she watched the previous administration violate the Constitution to deny peaceful public rallies and is urging Moscow’s new administration not to make that same mistake.
From UK Gay News:
“For five years I’ve been watching how the [previous] Moscow Mayor violated the laws and the Constitution of our country, forbidding peaceful public rallies and detaining peaceful demonstrators,” said Irina Alekseeva, the 70 year old mother of Pride organizer Nikolai Alekseev, as she left City Hall.
“I’m tired of being an outside observer of all these events, and I decided to help LGBT people to exercise their right to freedom of assembly in Moscow. They are citizens of this country and should enjoy the same rights as other citizens.”
Nikolai Alekseev praised the courage of his mother.
“In Russia, where homophobia is widespread, many gays or lesbians do not have the same chance to have parents who accept their sexual orientation and who are even ready to fight together with them for their rights,
“I commend my mum’s determination in helping us in our fight. I hope that this will be an example for many in this country, and help the parents of LGBT people to think twice before rejecting their children because of their sexual orientation.”
Mr. Alekseev added that there would be immediate court challenges if Moscow City Hall banned Gay Pride events.
Confusion over whether Pride events will be able to go ahead remains. As we reported at the time, Pride organizers said on April 12 that they had been given verbal confirmation that they would be able to hold the events with the administration’s blessing. This was later refuted by the authorities and no written confirmation has yet been issued.
October 2010 saw the European Court of Human Rights rule unanimously that banning Moscow Pride events, as was the case between 2006-2008, breached three separate articles of the European Convention which guarantees freedom of assembly, the right not to be discriminated against on the basis of sexual orientation, and the right to effective legal remedy. Russia appealed to the Grand Chamber, but the Grand Chamber upheld the ruling.
Gay Pride organizers told UK Gay News that they would go ahead with Pride regardless of whether or not the event is officially sanctioned.
Facing yet another potentially hostile reception, Irina Alekseeva’s advocacy ahead of the Pride event is no doubt a welcome source of affirmation and strength.
UPDATE: UK Gay News reports that Moscow city hall has banned this year’s Pride celebrations citing concerns about an insufficient ability to protect citizens. This is the same defense used to ban previous Pride events and was rejected by the European Court of Human Rights. Read more here.