A tiny Russian village with a population of seven almost made history when it originally agreed to host the notoriously homophobic country’s very first official Gay Pride celebrations.
Queer rights activist Nikolai Alexeyev posted on local social media site, VK, that Svetlana Kosarinova, mayor of the Russian village of Yablonevy, had agreed they would play host to the event as other plans made with a nearby village had fallen through. The news quickly received national attention, especially as Russia has a gay propaganda law barring any support of LGBT+ rights.
In Alexeyev’s post, he praised mayor Kosarinova, saying she was “a real liberal, a democrat and the greatest human being”, he continued by calling her “the bravest person in Russia” for allowing the event to go ahead. He said that while the event in the Russian village would be attended by 300 people, Kosarinova had also agreed to two far larger LGBT+ rallies to take place in the much larger Novoulyanovsk.
This was huge news, considering the dangers LGBT+ people have faced from Russian authorities, with some being forced to flee the country for their own safety. In a recent case, a 16 year-old boy who tried to organise a pro-LGBT+ event was arrested and charged under the gay propaganda law.
The good news didn’t last long, however, as only 24 hours later, local officials told news agencies “This information is not true, we will not hold any gay parades”. City manager, Gennady Denikayev, said that he had not been consulted on the event before the decision was made, and now that he was aware, he would not give permission. He followed by saying: “We intend to protect traditional family values and, foremost, our children from the propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations”.
While Alexeyev insisted the original decision should stand, and even had an official letter to prove it, the local government remained split on the issue meaning celebrations would not go ahead. No other villages have stepped up to host the event.
© 2018 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.