Out & Proud Exile

Written by Alexander J. Segal on

Alexander J. Segal's picture

On June 24, 2012, the Annual NYC Gay Pride Parade sailed down Fifth Avenue to the Greenwich Village where the gay liberation movement was born in 1969. This year a group of Russian-speaking LGBT persons and their supporters marched in the Pride Parade, brought together by the RUSA LGBT — Russian-Speaking American LGBT Association — a New York City based organization which unites and supports gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender/transsexual immigrants from the countries of the former U.S.S.R.

This vibrantly vivacious group of about 70 individuals marched in the parade with signs drawing attention to the dire deterioration of the LGBT rights in Russia and other former members of the Soviet Union. The messages they proudly held high in the air included: “In Moscow gay parade banned for the next 100 years”, “17 got arrested for carrying rainbow flags in Russia”, and “No place in EU for Ukraine with its anti-gay laws!” One could also notice the white ribbons worn by some of the RUSA LGBT members — a popular sign of opposition to the regime of Vladimir Putin and what it truly stands for: violent homophobia, pervasive corruption, and omnipresent violations of human rights.

This colorful public campaign against state-sponsored homophobia in the countries of the former Soviet Union seems to have been both blissfully festive and at the same time distressingly evocative of the true conditions faced by the LGBT persons in the region in question on the daily basis. It was a truly wonderful experience to see these men and women come out into the streets with their message of love, tolerance, and equality without fear of violence from the police or their fellow city dwellers; but let it be a reminder to us that they were only able to do it here in the United States and would most probably suffer a great deal for attempting anything of the sort in their respective motherland(s).

Photos of the RUSA LGBT Pride Parade group can be viewed here: “RUSA LGBT NYC PRIDE 2012”

Video of the RUSA LGBT Pride Parade group can be viewed here: “RUSA LGBT NYC pride 2012 video”

Source of RUSA LGBT official web-site: rusalgbt.com, flicker.com