International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia

Russian LGBTI group Coming Out, one of Civil Rights Defenders’ long-term partners, once again faced several difficulties when planning to celebrate the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. Finally, despite all obstacles, the group convinced the police that they were allowed by the court to organise its flashmob. Civil Rights Defenders is in St. Petersburg, witnessing first-hand the success of the event.

The LGBTI group notified the authorities in several different locations about their planned flashmob. However, the authorities stayed creative and found as many reasons to reject their applications.

Among other things, the authorities referred to the widely criticised “gay propaganda law”, as well as to other conflicting events. Another reason for rejecting the application was that the event would disturb plans to plant trees in the specific park where the group requested to organise its flashmob.

“Russia’s systematic crack-down on human rights seriously affects the situation for LGBT people in the country. Repressive and internationally criticised laws such as the ‘gay propaganda law’ and the restrictions in the ‘law on public meetings’ severely limits the possibility and security for organisations like Coming Out to organise public events. It is important however that they continue their work, and show to the public that human rights belong to everyone,” said Cecilia Rosing, Programme Officer for Eurasia at Civil Rights Defenders.

Finally, despite all obstacles, Coming Out was allowed to organise their flashmob in the Poljostrovsky park in St. Petersburg. Reflected in the festivities and many speeches was this year’s theme – “Different, equal, together”.

“Civil Rights Defenders is happy to be part of today’s celebrations, and hopes that next year’s event can be organised without obstacles. In order for that to happen, Russia must comply with its international obligations to respect and protect the fundamental rights to freedom of assembly, association, and expression,” said Cecilia Rosing.

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