Gay Liberation Network ( GLN ) co-founder Andy Thayer has landed in Moscow to help represent U.S. LGBTs at an "illegal" Moscow Pride event organized by GayRussia, according to an organizational press release.
The event is slated to take place Saturday, May 28, in downtown Moscow.
Despite a decision last fall by the European Court of Human Rights that the Russian government's bans of previous Pride events were in violation of the Russian Constitution's guarantee of freedom of assembly, authorities have again banned Moscow Pride this year. In 2009, Thayer was among those arrested at a pride event in that city.
"It is testimony to the courage of GayRussia organizers that they have chosen to go forward with Moscow Pride, despite the authorities' illegal ban on Pride and the lack of every legal protection for Russian LGBTsof their jobs and housing, for example," said Thayer in the statement.
"GayRussia's decision to go forward with Pride is very reminiscent of the heroic decision made 50 years ago by Civil Rights activists in the U.S. to launch the 'Freedom Rides' to test the federal ban on segregated transportation facilities," he added. "Then and today, while high court decisions remain toothless, direct action is required to ensure that rights are won in reality. This is a lesson that advocates of civil rights around the world can learn from. I and other non-Russians will be honored to join them in their protest."
GLN is urging people to call the Russian embassy in Washington, D.C.,202-338-3263 or 202-232-5988to protest the decision to ban Moscow Pride and to demand that they ensure the safety of Pride recipients.