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2000 News & Events

Ukraine: Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Conference Takes Place in Kiev

The conference "Human Rights Concerning Gay Men and Lesbians: The Experience of Work and Establishing of Cooperation Among Lesbian & Gay Organizations in the Post-Soviet States" took place in Kiev from October 19 to October 21, 2000. Participant from the Eastern and Central Europe presented the current position of gays and lesbians in their respective counties. Areas for specific discussion included legislation against discrimination and for recognition of gay and lesbian couples; work with political and social leaders; psychological support and legal assistance for individual gays and lesbians; human rights monitoring; cooperation with AIDS programs and with foreign organizations; and media, including gay and lesbian media, the Internet, public education, and mass media. Read the coverage by PlanetOut.

Belarus: Gay Pride 2000 Has Failed

Belarus Gay Pride was opened on Thursday, September 7, at 11 pm in a Minsk club. After approximately one hour of drag queen show the light and sound on the stage were cut off and club visitors were requested to leave the club. When asked for comments, the director of the club stated that no official authorisation from the Minsk city authorities had been issued for the event and the show could not continue, but he welcomed the visitors to continue the disco. Edward Tarletsky, President of the hosting Belarus Lambda League, suggested to move the event to an alternative location, but he was not followed.

On Friday, September 8, all initially scheduled seminars and movies were cancelled, and pride guests found the premises closed 'for technical reasons'. The night show in another Minsk club also failed due an electricity cut-off in the entire block where the club was located. Prizes and diplomas were awarded the next day, September 9, in a small Minsk cafe where only BLL's members and their personal friends were invited. The conclusion of the Pride took place September 10 on a clearing in a suburban forest.

Who is to be blamed for the failure? Totalitarian regime or inadequate preparation? Read our independent opinion.


Azerbaijan: New Criminal Code Has no Ban on Sex between Men

Gay activists in Azerbaijan report that the ban on sexual relationships between men in that country has been lifted. A special edition of "Azerbaijan", the official newspaper of the Parliament, published on 28 May, reports that the Parliament has approved a new Criminal Code, and that the President has signed a decree bringing it into force in September. The text of the new Criminal Code is also published. From this it is clear that the old Article 113 (inherited from the Soviet era, and which punished anal sex between men with three years imprisonment) has been replaced with a new Article 150, which bans only forcible sexual acts. The introduction of the new Criminal Code is part of the widespread legal and institutional reforms undertaken by Azerbaijan in order to bring its institutions up to the standards required by the Council of Europe. These standards include the abolition of laws which ban same-sex relationships.

ILGA Europa

Russia: Homophobia Used Against a Presidential Candidate

23 March 2000. The first television channel ORT in prime time showed a group of overtly homosexual men at the "Blue Heart Club" holding a news conference in support of Yavlinsky. ORT is 51% state-owned and reportedly controlled by Boris Berezovsky, one of the Kremlin "oligarchs" who backed Boris Yeltsin and Yeltsin's hand-picked successor Putin. ORT ended its report with a disclaimer that the media conference might be part of a disinformation campaign. Rumors have it that the whole thing was staged by Putin electoral headquarters with a view to make it appear that the urban intelligentsia's favorite for president was supported by gays. Putin campaign deputy head Kseniya Ponomaryova denied she had anything to do with the anti-Yavlinsky campaign and said, "ORT has shown that gays support Yavlinsky, and that there are grounds to consider that his campaign is financed by persons who do not have Russian citizenship. What can I do about it?" On the other hand, Yavlinsky could well be a likely choice for a gay voter, an economist viewed as a Western-style democrat who values individual liberties and whose support is based among the urban intelligentsia. Read the full story... >>

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