ILGCN (International Lesbian & Gay Cultural Network)
Press Release June 1, 2006
Stage 2 in Jerusalem, 3rd Stage in Minsk or "Belarus in Exile"
ILGCN World Conference
in Bloodied Moscow
Moscow/Stockholm -- The first stage of this year's ILGCN World Conference on Lesbian & Gay Culture took place in the Russian capital on May 25th – right after the Nordic Rainbow Festival and before the 1st IDAHO (International Day Against Homophobia) World Conference and Moscow Pride – an event sparking violent attacks, an army of blue-and-white riot police running through tear-gas soaked streets, arrested gays and neo Nazis, cursing churchmen and angry, old women making the sign of the cross before hurling their tomatoes and eggs.
Pride participants had tried to place flowers at a Red Square memorial – but the brutality of the police and shouting, punching and kicking homophobes broke up the event – denounced by the city's mayor who ignored international appeals to refused to retract his ban on Pride.
Nordic 'Troops" on the Barricades
The Nordic rainbow cultural festival was made possible by a grant from the Nordic Culture Fund of the Nordic Council – with presentations by Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Latvian, Estonian and Lithuanian cultural delegates – with music, films and art work also from Iceland and Finland.
"When the small Nordic nations join together, we can be a sizable addition to any rainbow barricade, and we're proud that the Nordic fund supported this event in a city where LGBT people are openly condemned by politicians and where religious leaders tell their followers to beat up homosexuals on the street," says Bill Schiller of the ILGCN Information Secretariat in Stockholm.
"And we're especially glad that the Norwegian Embassy in Moscow gave us a grant to help cover the conference locale rent for the Nordic cultural festival and the ILGCN conference – also giving a psychological boost for the hard-pressed and courageous Russian organizers desperately searching for allies," Schiller concludes.
Rainbow History over the Centuries
A special presentation was made by delegates from the ILGCN History Secretariat in Minneapolis, with the highly impressive historical exhibition immediately booked for Warsaw Pride in June and Riga Pride in July. Another crucial presentation came from the ILGCN co-ordinator - Belarus, discussing whether the 3rd stage of this year's world ILGCN conference can be held in this the last dictatorship of Eastern Europe -- or if it once again has to be held in exile – perhaps in Poland or Lithuania.
The ILGCN Grizzly Bear 2006 honoring outstanding and courageous efforts in the face of unusually fierce homophobia was awarded to the organizers of the 1st World IDAHO conference and the first Moscow Pride.
New ILGCN cultural ambassadors and co-ordinators were approved from Algeria, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia and Sweden (see website for details).
The next stage of the 2006 ILGCN world conference will be in Jerusalem as part of World Pride August 6-12 .