Russia: Gay Culture and Rights Celebrated Despite Attacks

Published: September 20, 2011

LGBT organisation Coming Out issued a statement about Third International Festival QueerFest 2011, which opened September 15 in St. Petersburg, Russia, despite protests and attacks by members of clerical extremist organisations, who threw eggs, exploded firecrackers, and sprayed pepper spray at the premises.

Full text of the statement from Coming Out

Third International Festival QueerFest 2011 opened September 15 in St. Petersburg, Russia, despite protests and attacks by members of clerical extremist organisations, who threw eggs, exploded firecrackers, and sprayed pepper spray at the premises. Close to 200 people attended the opening ceremony, including representatives of Amnesty International, Civil Rights Defenders of Sweden, Human Rights Council of St. Petersburg and other leading human rights organisations of Russia and abroad; diplomats from the Netherlands, Sweden, Great Britain, France, Norway, artists and members of civil society spoke about the importance of LGBT rights work in Russia.

QueerFest’s mission is to give Russian gays and lesbians a sense of Pride and to raise awareness of LGBT rights in society at large. Artists, human rights activists, and public persons voice their support for tolerance and non-violence by participation in the festival.

For 10 days St. Petersburg public will enjoy photo exhibitions, concerts against homophobia, open public debates and discussions about LGBT rights and traditional values, freedom of expression and censorship. So far the festival has attracted close to 700 gay, lesbian, and straight people.

Festival is organised by LGBT organisation Coming Out (www.comingoutspb.ru).

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