Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Budapest pride Marred by Violence

My friend Lee was at the Budapest gay pride parade on Saturday and he said it was really scary. He’s in an opera in Vienna right now, and he had been to the pride parade in that city the previous week and said it was very nice and pleasant, your standard pride parade.

So the following Saturday he went to the Budapest parade, which is literally 90 minutes away by train. But the difference couldn't have been more stark. Apparently there were as many protestors of the parade as there were marchers. It was like one of those old-timey gay pride parades in New York from the 70’s, where they were literally protesting something rather than just having a big street party. He took some pictures which you can see here. Apparently people were throwing eggs, bricks, beer bottles, anything really, and a couple people got beat up really bad. And lining the route of the parade (which really was more of a ‘march’ than a parade) there were no cheering onlookers, either indifferent stares or menacing taunts.

It just goes to remind you that it’s easy to get stuck in a bubble when you live in London or New York, but the job of gay rights advocates isn’t done. Now that civil unions have been passed here in the UK, a lot of activists are asking “Is that it? Are we done?” There have been a few articles about it recently. But I think the situation for gay people in Eastern Europe, particularly Poland, is so dire that perhaps Western European activists should turn their attention there. After all, if these nations are going to be fully integrated into the EU, the different laws and opinions on gay rights are going to be a big problem, one that could maybe be avoided if activists start working to change people’s attitudes now.

1 comment:

Tobias said...

Die Straßenfeste und Paraden sind traditioneller Höhepunkt des Christopher-Street-Days. Diese öffentlichkeitswirksamen und Demonstrationen sind sowohl bei Fürsprechern als auch bei Gegnern beliebt. In Köln feierten eine halbe Million Menschen friedlich, während in Budapest 1500 TeilnehmerInnen brutaler rechtsextremer Gewalt ausgesetzt waren: