Queer culture festival opened despite government pressure

Despite all the obstacles, the International Festival of Queer Culture opened successfully on September 16. In the last minute, the organisers were forced to find a new location for the opening ceremony and the photo exhibition.

The director of the St Petersburg Union of Artists, where the opening was going to be held, called the organisers one day before the opening ceremony. He had been warned by an official from the Committee of Culture of St Petersburg that the event would be shut down because it was seen as “propaganda of homosexuality”.

150 people came to the ceremony. Polina Savchenko and Anna Anisimova, Festival coordinators, told the audience that the aim of the Festival was to promote tolerance and attract attention to the problem of homophobia and transphobia in Russia.

Other speakers were Igor Kochetkov, director of LGBT organization Coming Out, Mr. Majeed Olerud-Khoso, Swedish Consul for culture, and others.

Igor Kochetkov thanked the public of Russia for showing their solidarity: in 24 hours 1000 individuals and 30 organisations signed the online letter of support for the Festival.

The Festival organisers said that no matter what the pressure, the Festival will go on as planned.

The Festival is organised by St Petersburg LGBT organisation Coming Out in cooperation with Civil Rights Defenders.

Categories: Achievements.
Tags: Coming Out, Freedom of assembly, Freedom of expression, and LGBT.
Regions: Russia.