Monday, 31 March 2008

Top European mayors invited to Moscow Gay Pride

GayRussia reports that three of Europe’s leading mayors, two of them openly gay, have been invited to attend this year’s Moscow Pride.

Mayors Bertrand Delanoë (Paris), Ken Livingstone (London) and Klaus Wowereit (Berlin) have all been invited to the Gay Pride and associated conference being held in the Russian capital on May 30 and 31. Organisers are confident their presence will have an important symbolic influence.

“You always support the fundamental right of homosexual people to openly manifest and to publicly express themselves,” they say in their letter to the city halls.

“All of you also regularly take part in Gay Pride parades in your own cities.”

“Taking into account the bans of the public Pride events in the Russian capital in 2006 and 2007, we are not sure that Mayor Luzhkov will permit Gay Pride manifestation this year,” they point out.

“Please take part in our conference and rally,” the organisers ask.

It is not known whether they accepted an invitation or would be able to attend. It would have been superb to see them directly joining Russia’s gay community in their fight for equality. However, I expect that politics and diplomacy via ‘technical’ difficulties will make it impossible. In case of London mayor, I suppose, the situation is complicated by mayoral elections scheduled on 1 May ( In fact, it features openly gay candidate Brian Paddick, one of London’s former police chiefs, although the latest poll showed him on the 3rd place). In any case, it’s a good PR move from Russian gay activists. Well done!

In past, these European mayors voiced their support for Gay Pride organisers in Moscow and condemned Moscow mayor Luzhkov’s decision to ban Gay Pride celebrations. Luzhkov is known for his extreme homophobic rhetoric. He once called Gay Pride “a satanic gathering”.

*photo by GayRussia

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