Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkovâs press secretary, Sergei Tsoi, said April 6 that activists planning to stage a gay pride parade May 27 are âaggressiveâ and âplay with fire.â The gay communityâs âmost aggressive members try to impose their convictions on millions of Moscow citizens who deny their lifestyle,â Tsoi told the daily newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets. âThey play with fire. Thatâs their aggressive nature,â he said. âIf they disregard [local court rulings upholding Luzhkovâs ban on gay parades], they will assume overall responsibility for all possible consequencesâand it is dreadful to predict what they may be.â"
Last yearâs ban led organizers to replace the first pride parade with attempts to lay flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and hold a rally across from City Hall. Participants in both small events were violently attacked by neofascists, skinheads, Christians and riot police.
Organizers have filed suit in the European Court of Human Rights over the ban, seeking a determination of their right to march and $26,000 in damages.
Speaking in London in February, at a press conference with the openly gay mayors of Berlin and Paris, Luzhkov said: âI am not going to allow the gay parade. ... [T]hrough the gay parade you promote some uncertain people and it becomes an invitation to acquire this quality of the sexual minorities. [It is saying that] this is OK, thatâs normal, this is useful. Our view is that it is wrong and unusual. Let the gay people do what they do, but they shouldnât involve other citizens of our country.â
Paris Mayor Bertrand DelanoĂ« responded: âYuri! You do not become homosexual, there is no risk of propaganda. This is not a disease you catch at some point. ... Some of us have brown skin, some of us have fair skin, some of us have brown eyes, some of us have blue eyes. We are born heterosexual or homosexual. And thatâs it.â
At the end of the London press conference, Tsoi attacked Moscow Pride organizer Nikolai Alekseev, who also is a journalist and was standing in the front row holding a âMoscow Prideâ sign. Tsoi tried to snatch away the sign and the two men scuffled. Alekseev later filed a complaint with London police.
Meanwhile, on March 30, Tsoiâs wife, pop singer Anita Tsoi, told Moskovsky Komsomolets that she loves to sing in gay clubs and that gay people are normal. âAmong gay people, I know lots of nice and serious guys,â she said. âThey have good jobs, they have normal positions in different professional domains. And they donât look like monsters. And privacy is a personal matter.â
She also said she might attend the gay pride parade. âIf it takes place, perhaps I will,â Anita Tsoi said. âBut currently, as I see, it is not very likely now. The point is, everyone has to be safe. Although I think the more brilliant, exciting and interesting life is, the more joyful it isâespecially now, when life is quite dull and severe. I am lady-show and love all funny and positive things.â"
Amnesty: Honduran Gay Activist Beaten, Raped
Honduran gay activist Donny Reyes was beaten by police and raped by fellow detainees at a police station on March 18, according to Amnesty International. The organization said Reyes, treasurer of the Rainbow LGTB Association, was arbitrarily grabbed from a taxi stand by police in Tegucigalpa and kept for six hours in a cell where other detainees, egged on by a policeman, repeatedly sexually assaulted him.
âLook, Iâm bringing you a little princess, you know what to do,â the officer said, according to Amnesty.
Another of the six officers who took Reyes into custody told him, âWe have to disappear these queers from here.â
Since then, Amnesty said, police have attempted to intimidate Reyes by parking outside the associationâs office. âHe, and other members of the organization he heads, may be in grave danger,â the organization said.
âAttacks against LGBT people in Honduras are a scourge the police should confrontâyet the police are part of the problem,â said Ariel Herrera of Amnesty International USAâs OUTfront Program.
Distress Over Ukraineâs Eurovision Entry
Ukrainian nationalists are protesting the nationâs official entry in the Eurovision Song Contestâa single by drag queen Verka Serdyuchka. They demonstrated in several cities April 1, calling for Ukraine to withdraw from the wildly popular pan-European extravaganza. Serdyuchka lampoons rural Ukrainian women. Although sometimes vulgar, she is a cult icon with a diverse fan base. Her selection by public vote as Ukraineâs Eurovision entry was a landslide.
Serdyuchka also is popular elsewhere in the former Soviet Union.
Gays Attacked at Jamaican Carnival
Three Jamaican gay men were attacked by a mob at Montego Bayâs MoBay Nite Out carnival event April 2, The Jamaica Observer reported. The men, one of whom was hospitalized, angered other attendees when they took to a stage and gyrated on each other, the newspaper said. The crowd threw rocks and bottles at the men and, when the men returned fire, the crowd lunged for them, chased them down and beat them.
The attack follows a Feb. 14 incident in which a mob surrounded a pharmacy in Kingston and demanded that four gay men inside come out and face punishment for being homosexuals. The crowd formed after another shopper took exception to the menâs presence and began screaming that âbattymen,â or faggots, must be killed.
Police fired tear gas into that crowd of 200 and rescued the men, one of whom was hit in the head with a rock while being escorted to a police vehicle. But after removing the men from the scene, officers disparaged them en route to, and at, the police station, according to the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays.
One of the rescued men, J-FLAG leader Gareth Williams, said officers hit him in the head and struck him in the stomach with a rifle.
Chief Italian Bishopâs Cathedral Defaced
Someone spray-painted âShame On You Bagnascoâ on the Roman Catholic cathedral in Genoa, Italy, on April 2 after Archbishop Angelo Bagnasco, head of the Italian Conference of Catholic Bishops, likened gay relationships to incest and pedophilia. âWhy say ânoâ to forms of legally recognized cohabitation which create alternatives to the family?â he asked. âWhy say ânoâ to incest? Why say ânoâ to the pedophile party in Holland?â
The remarks came shortly after the bishops conference instructed Catholic members of Parliament to vote against Italyâs pending civil-union legislation.
Reports said Bagnasco is now traveling with a police escort for fear that angry gays might attack his person in addition to his cathedral.
- Assistance: Bill Kelley