Here at The Wild Reed it's become somewhat of a tradition to share, at this time of year, images of gay pride celebrations from around the world. Most of these celebrations are joyous events, though some, because of where they take place, trigger negative reactions from individuals and governments that actually jeopardize the safety of LGBT people and those who support them.
I start this year's Worldwide Gay Pride post with the image above from the August 3 Gay Pride festival in Amsterdam, one place that is clearly not negative toward LGBT people.
Many of this year's Pride events celebrated specific gay rights victories, as Samantha Stainburn notes in her June 30 article for GlobalPost.com.
Large and enthusiastic crowds turned out for this weekend’s gay pride parades, held in cities around the world, reflecting that fact that gay rights advocates have racked up a striking number of victories over the past year.
London’s Gay Pride parade on Saturday drew about half a million revelers just weeks after parliament passed legislation that will allow gay people to get married, not just enter into civil unions. "By making this change…parliament believes their love is the same as anyone else's love and that we believe in equality," Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron wrote in the official guide to the event, Reuters reported.
In Paris, marchers celebrated last month’s legalization of same-sex marriage in France.
And in the United States, record crowds were expected at Sunday parades given that the US Supreme Court recently struck down the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act and restored same-sex marriages in California.
This year’s grand marshal for the New York parade is Edith Windsor, the 84-year-old widow who challenged DOMA after she was forced to pay $363,053 on her late wife’s estate.
In San Francisco, the four plaintiffs in the case that ended California’s gay marriage ban – newlyweds Kris Perry and Sandy Stier of Berkeley and Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo of Burbank – were scheduled to ride in a float organized by the city attorney.
Unfortunately, not all of this weekend’s marches have been celebratory. In Russia, police detained dozens of people who demonstrated against new anti-gay legislation in Saint Petersburg on Saturday, The Guardian reported. "We staged the rally to support our rights and express our protest against the homophobic law," gay activist Natalya Tsymbalova told Reuters, according to The Guardian.
Above: Two men kiss each other during the Gay Pride parade in the coastal Israeli city of Tel Aviv on June 7, 2013. Thousands of people gathered in Tel Aviv for the parade, which attracts visitors from all over the world, including this year the first French married gay couple. (Photo: David Buimovitch/AFP/Getty Images)
For more images of Tel Aviv's Gay Parade celebrations, click here.
Above: Gay Pride in Mexico City. (Photo: Getty Images)
Notes The Huffington Post:
With an enormous display of colorful outfits, flashy costumes, and rainbow flags, millions from the LGBT community, as well as its supporters, gathered in various Latin American cities to ask for equal rights, tolerance, acceptance and to fight against homophobia and hate crimes.
Above: A participant in a Gay Pride event in Venezuela. (Photo: Getty Images)
Above: A colorful couple celebrating Gay Pride in Mexico. (Photo: Associated Press/Ivan Pierre Aguirre)
Above: An even more colorful couple in São Paulo, Brazil. (Photo: Getty Images)
Above: Well, hello! A participant in a Gay Pride celebration in El Salvador. (Photo: Getty Images)
Above: Two women kiss during the Gay Pride march in Medellín, Columbia. (Photo: Getty Images)
Above: Happy spectators of New York City's Gay Pride Parade. (Photo: Jeffrey James Keyes)
New Yorkers have a lot to celebrate this year and roughly two million people came out for NYC Pride 2013. DOMA champion Edie Windsor kicked off the parade with her fellow Grand Marshalls, legendary entertainer Harry Belafonte and Center for Black Equity President Earl Fowlkes. Over 13,000 marchers and sixty-eight floats made their way from midtown to the end of Christopher Street.
Above: Members of Dignity New York participate in the NYC 2013 Gay Pride parade. (Photo: Jeffrey James Keyes)
Above: Angels in America . . . New York, to be precise.
Above: LGBT African activists take to the streets of Cape Town, South Africa – June 2013. (Photographer unknown)
For an insightful article about LGBT activists in Africa and the challenges they are facing, click here.
Above: Supporters of the LGBT community at a Gay Pride parade in Hyderabad, India – February 3, 2013. (Photo: Mahesh Kumar/Associated Press)
Above: Gay rights activists at a demonstration near Taksim Square in Istanbul on June 23, 2013. (Photo: Petr David Josek/AP)
To read about the situation in Turkey for LGBT people, click here.
Above: A screen capture of a video of what is believed to be China’s first Gay Pride parade.
Notes blogger Paul Turner:
A video has been released by the Queer Comrades website, China's LGBT TV Channel about last month's pride march in Changsha, in which hundreds of LGBT supporters and allies attended from Beijing, Hong Kong, Guangdong, Chongqing, Hubei and Zhejiang.
The parade coincided with this year's International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO).
Shanghai does have a yearly pride event, however there is no parade or march, as all demonstrations are heavily supressed in China.
A statement on the Queer Comrades website said: "That night, event organizer Xiang Xiaohan and three others were taken away by the local Changsha police. The next day, 3 of them were released, but Xiang Xiaohan was administratively detained for 12 days. While we need to think on how to do better next time, we also have to celebrate the courage of Xiaohan and his team and congratulate them on a very successful event."
. . . Xiang said, "Next time they might detain me for 15 days. If that's what it takes to hold another event, then that's fine by me."
Adult, consensual and non-commercial homosexuality has been legal in the mainland of People's Republic of China since 1997 and homosexuality was removed from the Ministry of Health's list of mental illnesses in 2001. Currently no civil rights laws exist to address discrimination against China's LGBT community.
Above: Police detain a gay rights activist during a Gay Pride event in St. Petersburg, Russia – June 29, 2013. Dozens of gay and lesbian rights activists and their supporters gathered for the event but were attacked by anti-gay protesters and later dispersed by the police. (Photo: Reuters)
About the situation in Russia, Wayne Besen of TruthWinsOut.org writes:
Recently, a totalitarian law passed in Russia that prohibits words or actions considered remotely positive about gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender individuals. It labels any accurate information or support for the LGBT community “propaganda.” Conservative legislators realized that open and free discussions about LGBT people inevitably lead to equality. So, this draconian measure was intended to preemptively hijack the discussion, silence the more persuasive argument, and indoctrinate the population without opposition. These actions — along with abundant and shocking racist attacks –make it clear that Russia should no longer be considered a free country that respects the rights of minorities.
History informs us that scapegoating vulnerable minorities is a risky proposition that can easily spin out of control. A book about the Black Plague by John Kelly, The Great Mortality, reveals some disturbing parallels between anti-Semitism in Middle Age Europe and the current Russian crackdown on LGBT people. While the plight and circumstances experienced by diverse groups in radically different eras of human history makes comparisons tricky, there are undoubtedly commonalities worth exploring.
To read Besen's commentary in its entirety, click here.
Above: Participants in Brighton's Gay Pride event show their support for LGBT people in Russia. (Photo: Nigel Fletcher)
For more about Russia's deplorable treatment of its LGBT citizens, and for updates on global responses to the situation on Russia, including calls to boycott or move the Winter Olympics from Russia, see this previous Wild Reed post.
Recommended Off-site Link:
A Global Look at Gay Rights: "The Fight Against Discrimination Must Go On" – Daryl Lindsey's interview with Boris Dittrich (SPIEGEL, April 5, 2013).
See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Worldwide Gay Pride – 2012
Worldwide Gay Pride – 2011
Worldwide Gay Pride – 2010
Worldwide Gay Pride – 2009
Worldwide Gay Pride – 2008
Worldwide Gay Pride – 2007
For The Wild Reed's 2013 Queer Appreciation series, see:
Doin' Papa Proud
Jesse Bering: "It’s Time to Throw 'Sexual Preference' into the Vernacular Trash"
Dan Savage on How Leather Guys, Dykes on Bikes, Go-Go Boys, and Drag Queens Have Helped the LGBT Movement
On Brokeback Mountain: Remembering Queer Lives and Loves Never Fully Realized
A Catholic Presence at Pride – 2013
Dan Furmansky: "Why We Have Pride"
Gay Pride: A Celebration of True Humility
Gay Pride as a Christian Event
The Theology of Gay Pride
Something to Think About – July 13, 2013