LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

IDAHOT 2015 – Pride events, statements and reports on intersex issues

International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT) 2015 was marked with important statements and reports from the United Nations, the Council of Europe and the European Union. Many pride events and other activities took place all over Europe – some took place peacefully, while others faced obstacles.

So many things happened in connection with IDAHOT 2015! We have attempted to gather significant statements, reports from pride events and other activities – do not hesitate to let us know if we have missed any events. Send the info to Nanna Moe, Senior Communications Officer.

One particular pan-European event that must be highlighted is the annual IDAHO Forum. This year it took place in Montenegro, and participants included senior representatives of national governments, the Council of Europe, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the European Commission, the European Parliament, Law Enforcement and the European Governmental LGBT Focal Points Network representatives, as well as members of international and national non-governmental organisations dealing with LGBTI issues. ILGA-Europe were there to present our Rainbow Europe package 2015, and take part in several panels and meetings.

For a full roundup of IDAHOT events, check out the website of the IDAHO Committee.

Statements  and activities from…

United Nations

(collected by Equal Eyes)

Marking the occasion, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued a statement that urged businesses to become allies to the community and praised the UN policy of employee benefits for LGBT people, including same-sex spouses.




UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé said, "We cannot tolerate picking and choosing rights in modern society" as he urged for global solidarity in the fight for equality. He called on everyone "to join the movement for social justice, equality, and equity so that all people can live with dignity."




In its statement, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Zeid Al-Hussein, called for special attention to young LGBT and intersex people and warned that laws that criminalize people based on gender or sexual identity exacerbate violence and discrimination against young people.



HIV, Health, and Wellbeing: In Bangkok, UNAIDS hosted 50 civil society leaders from around the world to discuss 'Fast Tracking' the AIDS response. The two-day meeting noted that for the greatest impact, interventions must include attention to the most-affected populations including gay men and other men who have sex with men, transgender people, sex workers, and people who inject drugs.

Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO, issued a message on the activities from UNESCO to combat LGBT-phobic discrimination.

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, a group of UN human rights experts, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe urged Governments worldwide to protect these young people and children from violence and discrimination, and to integrate their views on policies and laws that affect their rights.

European Union

(collected by the European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBTI Rights)

Federica Mogherini, The High Representative of the European Union, issued a written statement on behalf of the EU, affirming the EU’s commitment to refuse discrimination on any grounds.

“On this International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, the EU stands together with LGBTI people all around the world in the struggle to end discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. All human beings are equal in dignity and all are entitled to enjoy their rights as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

[...] the EU will continue to advocate measures to combat discrimination and violence against LGBTI persons, and to actively promote their rights.”

Vera Jourová, Commissioner for Justice issued a video message and a statement, affirming her commitment to the adoption of EU anti-discrimination legislation, including on the grounds of sexual orientation.

“We are all born equal in dignity and rights. I am working in close cooperation with Member States to win their support on the Equal Treatment Directive, providing further protection from discrimination. It is my aim to secure its adoption as soon as possible.

[...] Only by eliminating discrimination, we can ensure that every individual is given the opportunity of full participation in our social and economic life. “

Dimitrios Papadimoulis and Ulrike Lunacek, Vice-Presidents of the European Parliament issued a statement:

“Discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation is illegal and is prohibited in the EU. The European Parliament together with  civil society has had a strong influence on this.”

“The fight for equality continues. The whole of society needs to take an active role in reducing prejudice as this is an aspect that affects everyone.”

President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz tweeted: “Much still to be done to end discrimination & homophobia outside and inside EU. A political as well as cultural battle.”

The Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) launched an in-depth analysis of legislation and policies affecting intersex people. The paper examines the legal situation of intersex people from a fundamental rights perspective. It draws on evidence from FRA's updated legal analysis on homophobia, transphobia, and discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, which now includes a section on intersex issues.

Council of Europe

Snezana Samardžić-Marković, Director General of Democracy of the Council of Europe, delivered a keynote speech at the IDAHO 2015 Forum in Montenegro saying that hate crime and violence against LGBT people are among the most persistent human rights challenges, with homophobic and transphobic incidents, the so-called “corrective rapes”, forced marriages, physical and emotional violence, family and community rejection, bullying and discrimination still being a sad reality in Europe. A sound legal and policy framework is needed to effectively counter these crimes.


The Council of Europe used the occasion to release an issue paper on the human rights needs of intersex people, and presented potential ways to protect intersex people against discrimination and unnecessary medical treatment.

The Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe,Nils Muižnieks, joined a number of international human rights bodies in a statement (see above under United Nations).

The Council of Europe Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Unit had invited Cypriot LGBT activist Alecos Modinos to Strasbourg at the Council of Europe event marking IDAHO. Alecos Modinos recalled why he had to challenge his country's criminalisation of homosexuality at the European Court of Human Rights and how the Cypriot society has changed. He also underlined the importance of education and knowledge in countering discrimination. Alecos Modinos talked also with the Council of Europe Journal, you can watch it here.

CRIN - Child Rights International Network

To mark the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia on 17 May, Child Rights International Network (CRIN) has prepared a special edition of their Children in Court CRINmail highlighting recent cases and legislative developments concerning LGBTQI persons and the impact of these developments on children’s rights.

Pride events and other activities in national level

Hundreds at the 4th LGBTI Pride Event in Tirana

(From our Albanian member organisations, Aleanca LGBT and ProLGBT)

Hundreds of activists participated today at the 4th Pride event (the first took place in 2012) riding with bicycles at the Boulevard of Martyrs and Boulevard “King Zog I”.

They protested for the domestic violence which LGBTI people are facing every day and they demanded to the Prime Minister Edi Rama to keep his promises.  Foreign ambassadors showed up at the event but a part of the Ombudsman and Commissioner for Anti Discrimination no one from the government was present.

“We were only 12 people who challenged the discrimination and fear in 2012 and now we are hundreds”, said Kristi Pinderi, activist. He added: “We know we are thousand and we protest today also on behalf of those who cannot be here, but who is missing is our Prime Minister Edi Rama and the leader of the opposition Lulzim Basha who know very well to give promises but they always fail to keep them”.

Xheni Karaj, LGBTI activist said: “We protest today against every injustice people are forced to face in this country. We protest also for the Roma Community, also for people with disabilities, also for women who are violated and killed every day”.

Supported by Ecovolis, a large environmental group in the country, the participants in this joyful protest asked to the Police not to block the traffic. They respected all street signs in respect for every citizen not causing any problem with the traffic.

Holding a 12 meters long LGBTI flag they than marched back in front of the prime minister office. The activists reminded him: “You promised us you were going to vote for a partnership legalisation but you haven’t done it yet, you also promised you were going to be on our side in the long process of educating and emancipating the society, which you never did”.

In there banners was written: “It is Ok to be Gay”, “Ride with Pride”, “We demand equal rights not special rights”, “Yes, I support LGBTI rights, No, I am not gay”, etc.

One day ago the most important LGBTI organizations in the country, Aleanca LGBT and ProLGBT successfully organized a charity event. All money raised will go to support STREHA the first residential shelter in the whole region for LGBTI young people (age 18-25).

 #IDAHOT in Armenia 

(from our Armenian member organisation, Pink Armenia)

Several advocacy and public events took place in Yerevan on the occasion of International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. The awareness about the Day has been successfully increased covering different layers of the society.

On the eve of IDAHOT, activists made the uncompromising statement of Stonewall “Some people are gay, get over it” available on the streets of Yerevan for passers-by.

PINK Armenia initiated personal letters to all of the MPs, some of the relevant ministries, prime minister of the country and the president Serzh Sargsyan. PINK called upon the state officials to monitor direct and indirect cases of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, to ensure the legislative amendments to combat discrimination based on SOGI, thus ensuring equal rights and respect towards LGBT people. The letter addressed to the president urged him not to reward persons and organizations openly demonstrating hate calls with national awards. The letter addressed to the MPs pointed out not to use the chair of the National Assembly as a platform for hate speech. The letters stated that the Government is also expected to adopt and implement the recommendations of UPR on regards to prohibiting and preventing discrimination based on SOGI.

PINK also gifted state officials informational booklets about homophobia and postcards with personal stories of LGBT persons who were subjected to violence and discrimination.

On May 17 PINK activists raised the LGBT flag in the very heart of Yerevan, which caused hysteria among the homophobic society and hate calls and threats towards the activists.

To conclude the day, IDAHOT was celebrated in a closed venue attended by more than 120 LGBT people and allies. Rarely in Armenia does the LGBT community have a safe and secure platform to express themselves openly, yet IDAHOT was celebrated in an easy and free environment.

The Special Report on the State of the Rights of LGBT People in BiH

(from our Bosnian member organisation, Sarajevo Open Centre)

On May 19th, the Joint Committee on Human Rights of the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina (PSBiH) held a thematic session on the occasion of May 17th, the International Day Against Homophobia, Bi-phobia and Transphobia. This is the first time ever that a legislative body in Bosnia and Herzegovina discusses the state of the human rights of LGBT people, and thus it is a historic moment in the struggle of the LGBT movement in BiH.

The International Day Against Homophobia, Bi-phobia and Transphobia has been officially recognized in 2005 by the European Parliament and it is officially celebrated in more than 70 countries. On this day, May 17th, 1990, the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from the list of mental illnesses and from that day onwards, May 17th has been celebrated as a reminder of the importance of the respect for human rights of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) people worldwide.

Borislav Bojić, the chairman of the Joint Committee, opened the thematic session stressing the following: “The LGBT citizens remain completely invisible in the BiH society because of the fear of violence and discrimination”. The situation in which LGBT people in BiH live was then presented, within the context of the human rights violations they face, by Mary Ann Hennessey, Council of Europe in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Saša Gavrić, a representative of Sarajevo Open Center, and Jasminka Džumhur, Human Rights Ombudsperson.

During the thematic session, Saša Gavrić reminded everyone of the fact that LGBT people are 5-12% of citizen in any society, including BiH. “LGBT citizens face violence and discrimination, the large portion of which remains invisible to the BiH society, since the existing official mechanisms for reporting, processing and documenting of discrimination and violence are not available to the majority of LGBT people, who, due to the fear of public reaction, and the reaction of the representatives of the institutions, report less than 10% of all the incidents.” Hence, it was underlined that the protection of LGBT people and their rights is a duty of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a civilized state, and that it has to become a part of its culture and social tradition.

The protection of human rights and the improvement of the position of LGBT people are incredibly important issues for the Western Balkan states on the road to full EU membership, as it was stated during the session. Accordingly, every year the European Commission pays considerable attention to the respect of the human rights and the minority rights, including the rights of the LGBT people, in the reports of the Council of the EU and the European Parliament on the progress of a particular country on the road to European integration.

The representatives of the Parliamentary Assembly of BiH and of the Parliament of FBiH, as well as the civil society activists were actively engaged in the discussion following the presentation of the state of rights of LGBT people in BiH. After it was stated that there is a series of activities aiming at the improvement of the rights of LGBT people, it was concluded that the BiH Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees would begin the process of introducing the legislative amendments to the BiH Law on Prohibition of Discrimination in order to further improve their position in BiH society. Also, it was concluded that the Institution of Ombudsman for Human Rights in BiH should draw a special report on the protection of rights of LGBT people and deliver it to the competent bodies, including PSBiH.

Apart from the members of the Joint Committee, the session was attended by Predrag Jović, the Deputy Minister for Human Rights and Refugees, Ombudsmen for Human Rights in BiH, the representatives of the entity parliaments, the representatives of the Norwegian and Dutch Embassy in BiH, the representatives of Sarajevo Open Center, as well as the representatives of other domestic and international non-governmental organizations in BiH.

No IDAHOT celebration allowed in Georgia

(from our Georgian member organisation, Identoba)

Since 2012, IDAHO in Georgia is a day of barring of LGBT individuals from public visibility. With every coming of May 17th, we are all brutally reminded of the aggression and abuse, as well as threats and humiliation, that come from radical groups and the Georgian Orthodox Church. Meanwhile, the State distances itself daily from secular principles as it becomes increasingly under the influence of a power-hungry and coercive religious institution – the Georgian Orthodox Church.

LGBT individuals are oppressed in the streets, workplaces, and within their own families—Identoba, as a representative of these groups, is a witness to all of this. Notwithstanding this fact, we only ask to speak publicly about this pain once a year, for a brief amount of time, and in limited scope. However, our every attempt to do this attempts with inescapable death threats. Furthermore, our critics irresponsibly label our efforts to speak up about human rights violations as “propaganda.”

In 2015, Identoba decided not to give in to the threat of organized violence and sought to publicly demand LGBT rights be protected. Identoba’s goal was twofold: first, to ensure the physical safety of IDAHO participants; and second, to exercise Freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly – a right abrogated since 2012.

Despite numerous attempts to negotiate and our best efforts, Identoba was not able to secure guarantees that a peaceful and public event can take place. Therefore, Identoba and the LGBT community remain forced to continue our human rights work behind closed doors under the conditions of undeclared theocracy. This year, Georgia’s Orthodox Church will completely occupy every public space available on May 17th. The Church has long been demanding adoption of Russian-inspired law that prohibits so-called “propaganda” in an effort to make our work impossible. Identoba is concerned that they will soon realize this law via a vague law “about inciting hatred,” which the Ministry of Internal Affairs sponsored, and the Church remains dedicated to realize.

LGL Presents the Government with an Inter-institutional Action Plan for the Non-Discrimination of LGBT* People

(from our Lithuanian member organisation, Lithuanian Gay League)

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people remain among the most vulnerable in Lithuanian society; however, Lithuania displays a striking lack of political will with respect to creating and implementing the policies and legislation needed to combat this issue. Furthermore, it is clear that the Inter-Institutional Action Plan on Non-Discrimination for 2015-2020 (adopted on January 28th, 2015) does not give the amount of attention necessary to solve the complex issues of LGBT* rights protection and social acceptance; the plan contains only one concrete measure addressing transgender rights protection – a study determining the status of transgender people living in Lithuania.

“Action Plan on Non-Discrimination of LGBT* People 2015-2020, Lithuania” was recently created by the national LGBT* rights organization LGL to provide recommendations for promoting the non-discrimination and full acceptance of LGBT* people in Lithuania, while also taking into account the community’s current status in the country. The plan includes recommended measures in areas such as human rights protection, social acceptance, education, health, employment, sports, tourism and protection from violence. In implementing the plan, it is crucial that the following concrete steps be taken:

  • Accept the Partnership Act;
  • Supplement certain laws, especially the Law on Equal Opportunities of the Labour Code, such that people cannot be discriminated against on the basis of gender identity;
  • Accept legislation for gender reassignment;
  • Overrule Article 4, Part 2, Point 16 of the Law on the Protection of Minors Against the Detrimental Effect of Public Information;
  • Prevent the passing of discriminatory draft laws and initiatives in Parliament;
  • Educate the public and its constituent groups;
  • Increase the visibility of LGBT* people in Lithuanian society and encourage their social integration.

The recommended measures put forth in this publication were selected by considering the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers Recommendation CM/Rec (2010)5 for member states fighting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity (published on the 31st of March, 2010), by referencing the best practices of European nations, and by taking Lithuania’s legal and social context and current problems regarding the protection of LGBT* rights into account.

An electronic version of the comprehensive publication can be found on LGL’s website. By providing this publication, LGL aims to draw the attention of policy-making and policy-implementing state institutions to the problems faced by LGBT* people, and to encourage the consistent creation and implementation of strategies for non-discrimination by these actors.

Celebrating IDAHOT as a part of free Macedonia

(From our Macedonian member organisation, LGBTI Support Center - Helsinki Committee for Human Rights)

Currently, the Republic of Macedonia is facing the largest political crisis in its twenty-four years of existence. Starting from February 9th 2015, the opposition leader Zoran Zaev held thirty three press conferences (which he calls “Bombs”) where he published recorded conversations between various people and high ranking Government officials. The content of these conversations revealed that the Government was illegally wiretapping more than 20.000 citizens, and that high ranking officials and people close to them committed large number of criminal acts, including election fraud, endangerment of safety, racketeering, abuse of power, murder cover up, influencing the judiciary, forming para-military structures within the Police and Army and lot more. Right before the first “Bomb”, the Public prosecutor charged Zoran Zaev with violence against high ranking officials because he allegedly threatened the Prime-minister that he will publish the conversations if he didn’t resign and accept the forming of a transitional Government. The Prime-minister claims that the recordings ware acquired via unnamed foreign intelligence service.

This situation resulted in increased civil activity and massive protests all around the country. On May 5th, Zoran Zaev published the bomb about the Government cover up of the murder of Martin Neskovski in 2011, when they hid the fact that the murderer (who was a police officer) was conducting official matters in the time of the murder, thus covering up the involvement of the Ministry of interior in the crime. The directions came straight from the top – the Prime-minister Nikola Gruevski, and in collaboration with the (now former) Minister of interior affairs, Gordana Jankulovska and (now former) Chief of the Secret police, Sasho Mijalkov. That day, a group of around 2.000 people gathered in front of the Government and for the first time after so many years passed the corridors of policemen who were heavily armed, approaching closer to the building than any other protestors before. At approximately 22:00 hrs, a group of people started engaging in severe clashes with the Police, which resulted in application of disproportional, unselective and excessive force by police forces, where not only aggressive individuals ware targeted but peaceful participants of the protest as well. The following days, the Public prosecutor placed more than a dozen people in pre-trial detention, most of them being students that were not engaged in the violent clashes, charging them with the criminal act of Participation in a mob that prevents an official from conducting his official duty.

The aftermath of this protest was repeating the gatherings that happened before four years or the gatherings at six o’clock. The second day after the violent protest, there were no any attempts from the police structures, and protest go on peacefully. And the thing that made the second protest important, having on mind the persistent presence of the members of the LGBTI community in Macedonia, was the rainbow flag showed up in front of the policemen. The symbolic matters are related to those attacks on the LBTI community when there was missing this “effective” cover up by the security forces. Also the presence of the LGBTI community is important on this protest because of their encouragement to participate in the political life in Macedonia and have important role in the changes of the political process and negative trends of governing.       

However, this protest resulted in the creation of one of the largest civil movements in Macedonia, called #Protestiram (Protestiram in Macedonian means I protest). Every day since, exactly at 18:00hrs, this movement held protests in front of the Government and other state institutions. However, the Police used the incidents from May 5th to forbid the Movement to approach the buildings of the Government, Public prosecution office and the Ministry of interior, despite the fact that such limitation of the right to peaceful assembly is unconstitutional. LGBTI activists are one of the most vocal members of this movement.

Several weeks ago, Zoran Zaev announced the massive antigovernment protest, scheduled for May 17th (IDAHOT). He pointed out that it wasn’t going to be a partisan rally, and that it will be a place for anyone that doesn’t agree with the dictatorial policies of Gruevski’s Government. He called for support from all NGOs and informal groups. He called for free Macedonia, and for joint struggle against this undemocratic and repressive regime, funded on the principles of social justice and active protection and care for human rights of all individuals, especially of those that belong to minority and marginalized groups. Recognizing the will for protection of marginalized groups and their rights, the National Network against Homophobia and Transphobia (NNHT) decided to respond to Mr. Zaev’s call and to support the protest. Also due to the current situation, NNHT decided to cancel all other events that ware planed for commemoration of IDAHOT in Macedonia. However, when NNHT declared its support for the protest and told the organizers that IDAHOT was on the same day as the protest, we found a rare understanding and support from the opposition.

Mobilizing through the pages of the Center on the social media, it was succeeded in having the LGBTI community present and active in these crucial political events, no matter of their other identities as ethnicity or religion, but all together.

Members form NNHT ware right in front of the main stage, waving the Rainbow flag together with the thousands of Macedonian, Albanian, Serbian and other flags. For the first time ever, LGBTI people in Macedonia ware accepted as a part of our society, as a part of the change we all want to achieve. The protest gathered between 70.000 and 100.000 people and is still going on.          

This means that LGBTI community was represented at this civil coalition and the rainbow flags – that symbolically reflected the presence of the community – were winnowed again with a quit an attention from the media that followed the event. Also after the biggest protest in the history of independent Macedonia, some of the participants stayed in front of the government building with the idea of – camping till the end of the dictatorship in Macedonia. This occupied space in front of the building that became a political cotangent was fulfilled with different activities and the National network against homophobia and transphobia had a gondola there with promotional material so that people can inform about the work of the organizations that are part of this network such as LGBTI Support Center – Helsinki Committee for Human Rights.

The entire event went peacefully for LGBTI people and activists, which was unimaginable until now. This encourages LGBTI people from Macedonia that better times lay ahead, times where all people will be truly equal, regardless of their differences. Also this prominent presence of the LGBTI people and the activities that took place before 17th May means that there is hope of better positions for the LGBTI community in Macedonia and commitment of the next government for making that possible.   

Equality March in Moldova

On May 17, the International Day Against Homophobia, the Equality March under the slogan "Because I live here" was held in in the city centre of Chisinau, Moldova. It was organised by Information Centre "GENDERDOC-M" in the framework of the 14th Festival of the LGBT community in Moldova "Rainbow over the Dniester". Orthodox believers who participated in the so-called anti-march. The police had to protect LGBT people against aggressive orthodox believers in emergency mode as a result six protesters were arrested for disorderly conduct. According to GENDERDOC-M, none of the participants of the March was injured.

"We hold the March not because we want just to march, but because we want to draw public attention to the fact that LGBT people cannot be ignored, since they are a part of society. We live here, we are citizens of this country, we are working and paying taxes, as well as all other citizens of Moldova, "- said the official website of the festival.

Bucharest Pride

(from our Romanian member organisation, Accept Romania)

Between 17 and 23 May, join us at events addressed to LGBT community and to those who want to find out more about the LGBT romanian life and culture, will take place: theatre plays, movies, discussions, conferences and, of course, the Pride March.

Since this year we are celebrating the 10th anniversary of the first Pride March, this edition will be dedicated to change. We’ll be looking back to what we managed to accomplish in the last decade and, together, we’ll try to define the direction of the LGBT romanian activism for the next 10 years.

You can spread the word using these hashtags: #bucharest pride and #sustinlgbt!

IDAHOT 2015 in Russia

(from our Russian member organisation, Russian LGBT Network)

On May 17, various events devoted to the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia took place all over the world. In Russia, Rainbow flashmobs and other events took place in 16 cities - in Arkhangelsk, Voronezh, Ekaterinburg, Krasnodar, Moscow, Nakhodka, Novosibirsk, Murmansk, Samara, St. Petersburg, Omsk, Perm, Tolyatti, Tomsk, Tyumen and Khabarovsk. Most rallies took place without serious incidents.

The first flashmobs in Russia went in the Far East, in Nakhodka and Khabarovsk. And while in Nakhodka the event passed without any disturbances, the organizer of the Rainbow flashmob in Khabarovsk Alexander Ermoshkin was attacked just before the demonstration. He was seriously injured (unknown person hit him on the head and as a result Ermoshkin lost consciousness), but in spite of that, the balloons were released in 15 parts of Khabarovsk. Later on, Alexander commented on this situation: “They attacked me not because they hate me personally, but because they hate LGBT community”. The activist filed a case with the police and passed forensic investigations. The Russian LGBT Network provides the activist with legal assistance.

“Over 350 people celebrated IDAHO in the center of St. Petersburg on Marsovo Pole, this event becoming the largest LGBT rally as of today in Russia. Representatives of “Coming Out”, the Russian LGBT Network, Side by Side LGBT festival, the Youth Human Rights Group, and the Center for Development of Democracy and Human Rights spoke of the importance of solidarity within civil society, support of vulnerable groups, and the growing strength of the LGBT movement in our common struggle for peace and human rights in Russia”. LGBT initiative group “Coming Out” organized the event. 

In Moscow, the police detained 17 people. As one of the TV channels commented, activists were detained “because of the colorful balloons in their hands”. Initially, slightly less than 100 people gathered in the Ekaterininsky Park. The police tried to convince activists to leave the park, and then started to detain people. They detained not only 17 activists, but also a courier who delivered the balloons. Those activist, who were not arrested went to another place, bought the balloons and held the rally. Around 40 people took part in the flashmob. All the detained people were released later on. The Moscow LGBT organization “Rainbow association” organized the event.

In Novosibirsk, on May 17, a seminar “Together against xenophobia” and the event called “New generation” took place. The events were organized to attract new people to the movement and to tell them what is done by now and what is to be done. The Novosibirsk regional branch of the Russian LGBT Network and Transgender project «T9 NSK» organized the events.

In Tomsk, the rally was not authorized by the administration; it took place in the local “Hyde Park”.  However, as one of the activists pointed out, the police officers were there to keep the activists safe and everything passed smoothly.

Last year 14 people were detained during the Rainbow flashmob in Perm. This year, the administration of the city issued a permission for this event. Despite the fact, that the administration refused to send the police to protect the activists, around 40 people gathered for the Rainbow flashmob. The event took place without any incidents.

More from Russia…

Moscow police breaks up IDAHO rally, detains 17 activists

(from QueerRussia)

On May 17, Moscow policemen disrupted the Rainbow Flashmob dedicated to the International Day Against Homophobia, transphobia and biphobia, as reported by participants of the rally in their blogs on social networks.

The traditional event with launching colored balloons to the sky was to be held in the Yekaterininskiy Park, but the police did not allow to hold the rally, detaining several of its members.

According to the activist Nikolai Kavkazskiy, “Moscow police foiled Rainbow flashmob by arresting the balloons.” He also reported mass detentions of the participants, including himself: “The police brought me to the bus and said that they were not detaining me, but forwarding me somewhere.”

According to him, a total of 14 police officers detained LGBT activists, who planned to take part in the celebration of the International Day Against Homophobia, transphobia and biphobia. Kavkazskiy also said the police detained the activists because they allegedly interfered with the children in the park. The detainees were taken to the police station, then policemen seized their documents and demanded to undergo fingerprinting.

The detention and break-up was confirmed by another gay activist Igor Yasin. According to him, “gallant Moscow police detained 14 young people walking in the park. A terrible crime stopped! Before that, they seized the balloons. ”

According to Xenia Zhivago, representative of the human rights organization “Zona Prava”, as a result 17 people were detained, as well as the courier who delivered the balloons. All of them were taken to the “Meschantskoye” police station.

On Sunday evening all the arrested were released from the police department after “preventive conversation” without making any protocols.

IDAHOT/B 2015 marked in Belgrade

(from our Serbian member organisations, Gayten-LGBT and Labris)

To mark the International day against homophobia, transphobia and biphobia (IDAHOT/B), on Sunday, May 17th, a rainbow flag together with a trans rights flag were dropped from the Ombudsman’s building in Belgrade. In this symbolic way, people of different sexual orientations and gender identities were shown support and attention was drawn to the problems these people have to live with on day to day basis.

Besides Gordana Stevanović, Ombudsman’s deputy, members of the Gender equality council were also present, and representatives of Gayten-LGBT and Labris, Milan Đurić and Jovanka Todorović respectively. Afterwards, Ombudsman’s deputy headed to Students’ park to an IDAHOT queer picnic, organized by Gayten-LGBT and Labris, also in order to mark this year’s IDAHOT day.

The event was well attended – it is estimated that around 80 to 90 people came. Flags were put up around the park, there was music and refreshments. The event was guarded by police forces and there were no incidents during, before or after the event.

In Serbia, LGBTQIA people are still not sufficiently and adequately protected, although recently huge steps have been undertaken to protect and improve their position, such as the making of the strategic documents containing actual measures dedicated to the improvement of LGBTQIA people’s lives. Before-mentioned organisations take part in these processes.

#IDAHOT in Turkish capital: For freedom and love!

(from our Turkish member organisation, KAOS GL)

May 17, the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT), has been celebrated today with the largest participation ever in the Turkish capital. This year’s slogan “We are marching for freedom and love” attracted thousands under rainbow flags, marking the end of the 10th International Anti-Homophobia Meeting organized by Kaos GL Association.

At the end of the panels, activists met at Ankara University’s Cebeci Campus, which is often targeted by Islamist daily Vahdet for its “collaboration with perverts”. Academics, activists, students, workers and union members chanted slogans such as “love and freedom, away from hatred”, “Gays will not shut up”, “The world would turn upside down, if trans people were free” together with a queered version of a famous Kurdish feminist slogan “women, life, freedom”.

The march ended in Sakarya Square with a press release condemning the military coup in 1980, following the recent death of coup leader Kenan Evren, which resulted in violence against many who do not conform to heteronormative expectations.

Then music took over. Firstly, feminist singer Gulay was on stage and sang songs she wrote against patriarchy. After her, the Compiled Band composed of LGBTI activists sang folk songs. Finally, The Group Arin sang Turkish, Kurdish and Arabic songs, which attracted many passersby and stirred up the crowd for famous folk dance halay.