Different messages came from several cities during the gay pride events last week and weekend. Not everyone is at the same stage of freedom, equality and tolerance. We all have a common enemy: the homophobes such as Mariano Rajoy of Spain, the Orthodox priests of Bulgaria and the nationalists of Turkey. Countries like Romania and Bulgaria, which are at an earlier stage, just want to be recognized and accepted. France’s present government is finally in favour of same-sex marriage and adoption, whereas Spain’s president wants to remove the gay marriage law, which was legalized in 2005.
Madrid and Barcelona, Spain
Millions of people including 30,000 tourists attended Madrid’s gay pride parade. The city made a profit of 110,000,000 Euros from the enjoyable event.
This year’s theme was, “Marriage equality. Equality without cutbacks.” Same-sex marriage has been legal in Spain since 2005. Spain’s current president, Mariano Rajoy wants to remove the law, which he has challenged in court. Many people wore wedding clothes to protest.
Barcelona theme was also “Marriage equality. Equality without cutbacks.” Around 2,000 people, some on floats, marched and danced through the streets with loud music, despite the rain.
Half a million attendees made gay pride France’s largest political event this year. The Parisian theme was “2012 – Equality is waiting!”
President Francois Hollande is the first French President that supports gay rights. His government now has a parliamentary majority big enough to debate and pass bills. Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said ahead of the march on Friday that “the right to marriage and adoption for all would be put in place” during President Francois Hollande’s five-year mandate, but did not specify the date. The new government have made their promise, but people want them keep it. Until the new laws are enacted, the French will remain skeptical.
Sofia’s had its largest gay pride parade in four years without violence despite threats from homophobes and Eastern Orthodox Priests. An Orthodox priest from eastern Bulgaria, said “stones should be thrown” at parade participants. A small nationalist party paid for billboard advertisements across Sofia saying “Gay Parade Allowed – Smoking Banned. Which is more harmful for the nation?”
Nevertheless, the parade took place without any problems. The rising number of participants this year proved it was a successful event. Despite the increasing tolerance in Bulgaria, it has a long way to go in gaining full acceptance from the country’s population.
Despite the looming dark clouds, thousands attended the annual Gay Pride parade in Dublin on Saturday. Around 130,000 people attended the event, 25,000 to 30,000 of whom marched in the parade itself. Attendance increases every year. 26,000 participated last year.
The theme of this year’s parade was “Show your true colours”, so that LGBT people could be free to express themselves and free and show that they are equal citizens of a great country.
Thousands of colourfully dressed people cheered and whistled as they paraded on the streets of Toronto in hot weather. This years theme was “Celebrate and Demonstrate”. The event attracted a lot of tourists. Sunday’s march was the last event of a 10 day pride celebration.
Thousands of people, many with rainbow flags, marched through the streets of Istanbul in a demonstration demanding improved rights and greater social acceptance for the country’s homosexual community. A bit of tear gas interrupted the participants briefly, but the parade went on.
Turkey, aspiring to be part of the European Union, has been gradually improving its record on homosexuality as it makes changes to conform to EU policy on human rights laws.
Activists say that Turkey is the only muslim-majority country that holds gay pride events.
Of the LGBT community, transgender people face the most discrimination in Turkey. Trans communities almost always come lowest in a hierarchy where the right to justice, ostracization and fair representation are concerned. They are often stereotyped as sex-workers and used as funny characters in comedies. The Trans Pride Parade, a separate event from the Turkish Gay Pride Parade, which took place a week earlier was almost attacked by a group of nationalists.
Over 200 people participated in the gay pride parade in Bucharest. 18 embassies sent messages of support. Romania’s theme this year was “I am! You?” Organizers said it is a march against hate to love and to recover the right to be worthy, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
Thousands of people rallied in Edinburgh, another city where the LGBT people want the legalization of gay marriage. Polls have shown that two-thirds of the Scottish population are in favour of gay marriage. The government will announce and publish it’s decision on same-sex marriage on the 10th of July.
Other cities that celebrated pride:
Swansea, Wales, UK
Chicago, Illinois (Chicago Windy City Black Pride)
St. Petersburg, Florida