Pride protesters link Russia, 76+ countries' anti-gay laws

Pride marchers in Brighton, England, on Aug. 2 protested Russia's anti-crackdown along with 76-plus countries' laws against same-sex love. (Photo courtesy of The Brighton Sauna, which sponsored the protest)
Pride marchers in Brighton, England, on Aug. 3 protest Russia’s anti-crackdown along with 76-plus countries’ laws against same-sex love. (Photo courtesy of The Brighton Sauna)

OPPOSING 76+ ANTI-GAY LAWS, AND NOW RUSSIA’S TOO

Brighton Gay Men's Chorus protests against anti-gay laws on Aug. 3. (Photo courtesy of Facebook)
Brighton Gay Men’s Chorus protests against anti-gay laws on Aug. 3. (Photo courtesy of Facebook)

Russia’s anti-gay crackdown along with the homophobic laws of 76-plus countries were the target of marchers in the Brighton Pride parade on Saturday, Aug. 3, in Brighton, England.

“How can 76 countries outlaw what is a basic human right, so often defended and upheld by the court of human rights?” asked  Dr. Adam Bailey of the Brighton Sauna, which sponsored the protest.  An even more intense focus was on Russia, with Brighton protesters seeking to  “raise awareness of this sick, outdated Hitler-style cleansing, caused by Putin’s homophobic laws,” in Bailey’s words.

“Boycotting Russian imports, and the Winter Olympics is a choice we can make. Being gay is a right, not a choice,” he said.

Vince Laws, creator/organizer of the BANNED protest, said:

It’s very important to protest right now about what’s going on in Russia under President Putin. People are being arrested, beaten, and murdered because they are identified as homosexual, or thought to be homosexual, bisexual, lesbian, trans, different.

‘Homosexual propaganda’ is now illegal’ – saying anything positive about homosexuals in public is a criminal offence. Pride organisations are being fined for existing. …

Hats off to Brighton Pride for helping make this happen at such short notice.”

Brighton’s Gscene editor James Ledward stated:

Firstly thanks to Brighton Sauna, who sponsored bringing Vince Laws and his BANNED campaign down from Norwich to the tune of £500. The media picked up on this and the BANNED campaign made local ITV news, CCN and was promoted on the hour, every hour by the BBC World Service.

The Banner campaign was also very successful and I was able to persuade 30 of the 65 floats to take banners including all the political parties and the Council LGBT workers forum.

But not everyone in the Brighton Pride parade joined the protest, Ledward said:

Your lesbian councillor in Queens Park, Cllr Powell personally declined.

Corporates refused to take banners saying they were too political (a human right issue too political. We need to question why are they on the parade to start with?)

Disappointingly some LGBT organisations and social groups also refused to carry the Posters. I was appalled by their reluctance. They are not so reluctant when they come begging for us to raise money for them.

Laws has previously staged BANNED protests in Norwich on July 22 and in Brighton on Feb. 1.

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Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at [email protected]

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