Jerusalem Pride – July 29, 2010

Israel, Jerusalem Pride, Gay Rights, LGBT, Human Rights, Tel Aviv, The Commandment  “You shall not murder” is spray-painted on a wall leading to the Tel Aviv LGBT center where two young individuals were murdered a year ago.  A masked man entered the center and opened fire on a youth group.  No arrests have been made in the case.
Israel, Jerusalem Pride, Gay Rights, LGBT, Human Rights, HomosexualOrganizers of Jerusalem Pride end a staff meeting with a group hug.

Israel, Jerusalem Pride, Gay Rights, LGBT, Human Rights, HomosexualA group of young Americans were invited to the Pride House to hear three local individuals describe life in Israel as a homosexual.

Israel, Jerusalem Pride, Gay Rights, LGBT, Human Rights, HomosexualA rough translation would be “Israel’s Parliament must be everyones’ Parliament.”

Israel, Jerusalem Pride, Gay Rights, LGBT, Human Rights, HomosexualBinyamin Rose is the psychotherapist at the Open Clinic located inside Jerusalem’s Pride House, which is the only anonymous HIV testing center in all of Israel.  He is one of those amazing people who work under extremely complicated conditions to help people in need.

Israel, Jerusalem Pride, Gay Rights, LGBT, Human Rights, HomosexualA small sample of the Jerusalem Pride House’s library.

Israel, Jerusalem Pride, Gay Rights, LGBT, Human Rights, HomosexualEveryone’s favorite gay couple in the office of Pride House.

Israel, Jerusalem Pride, Gay Rights, LGBT, Human Rights, HomosexualAn armed guard sits outside of the Pride House’s door.

Israel, Jerusalem Pride, Gay Rights, LGBT, Human Rights, HomosexualThe Pride goes on.  I thought it was very well done, and extremely tasteful, with an obvious focus on Human Rights.

Israel, Jerusalem Pride, Gay Rights, LGBT, Human Rights, HomosexualBecause of last year’s shootings in Tel Aviv and the stabbing of three participants in Jerusalem’s Pride in 2005, there were over 1500 police  protecting the Pride march and rally.

Israel, Jerusalem Pride, Gay Rights, LGBT, Human Rights, HomosexualThere were several protestors from the Ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, who mostly made sheep noises.  When a small group of them started jumping up and down yelling protests, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the Neo-Nazi groups I have encountered so many times in Eastern Europe.  When one of the men started a conversation with me, I told him of this similarity between the two.  He responded by saying “Good, at least they got something right.”

Israel, Jerusalem Pride, Gay Rights, LGBT, Human Rights, HomosexualA lone protestor stands quietly alone along the Pride route.  The Ultra-Orthox community may not be as violent as the skinhead protesters in Eastern Europe, but politically they are extremely powerful in Israel.

Israel, Jerusalem Pride, Gay Rights, LGBT, Human Rights, HomosexualThe Pride made its way up to a park just outside of the Parliament building.

Israel, Jerusalem Pride, Gay Rights, LGBT, Human Rights, HomosexualAyala Katz, whose son Nir  Katz, was one of the victims of last year’s shootings, gave an emotional speech about her hopes of ending homophobia.  Ayala now heads an LGBT support organization for parents of the LGBT community  in Tel Aviv.

Israel, Jerusalem Pride, Gay Rights, LGBT, Human Rights, HomosexualParticipants enjoy the cool night air and listen to speeches made by members of the LGBT community.

Tel Aviv, LGBT Rights, Israel, HomophobiaIn Tel Aviv, thousands attended a candle light march in remembrance of those injured and killed in last year’s shooting.

To see more images of Pride, check out the our website:
http://www.walkwithpridenow.com

WWP Blog:
http://wwpproject.wordpress.com

And join us on Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/WWPproject

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EuroPride 2010 – Warsaw, Poland July 10th

EuroPride 2010, Gay Russia, Gay Belarus, Gay Rights, Human RIghts, Warsaw PolandHonestly, I was really looking forward to EuroPride.  It was a chance to meet up with a small group of people who have come to mean a lot to me.  Had it really been two months since Minsk and Moscow?  Not a day goes by that I don’t think about my time there.  In the photo above, Sergey Yenin greets Nikolai Alekseev at the Warsaw International Airport.

EuroPride 2010, Gay Russia, Gay Belarus, Gay Rights, Human RIghts, Warsaw PolandI was also really happy to also meet up with Australian film makers Logan Mucha and Jack Giles.  I first met these two in Minsk, and they have helped me out in more ways than one.  Information on their film East Bloc Love can be found here http://www.loganmucha.com/east-bloc-love/ I will never be able to thank them enough.  Here Logan interviews an organizer of EuroPride outside of the Pride House.

Let’s also not forget Andy Harley who runs UK Gay News found at:  http://ukgaynews.org.uk/latest.htm Andy, who is 71 years old, has a long and fascinating career in journalism.

EuroPride 2010Nikolai Alekseev and Sergey Yenin give a speech on the situation of LGBT Rights in their home countries at Pride House.

EuroPride 2010, Volker Beck, Nikolai AlekseevEuroPride, Volker Beck, Sergey YeninGerman Parliament Member and Human Rights activist Volker Beck meets up with Nikolai and Sergey.  To know more about Volker Beck’s long career in Human Rights click here : http://www.volkerbeck.de/cms/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=348&Itemid=105

EuroPride 2010, Big Gay Movie, Beyond GayWe were also able to meet up with some of the team  of Beyond Gay: The Politics of Pride.  From left to right are Ken Coolen, Morris Chapdelaine, and Bob Christie.  Their site is located here http://biggaymovie.com/

EuroPride 2010While a group of protestors did demonstrate in front of the Pride House one night, no major problems occurred there.  However, homophobic stickers were put on the Pride House windows more than once.

EuroPride 2010Rev. Szymon Niemiec from the Christian United Church gave a very touching sermon and blessing before the Pride.

EuroPride 2010Sergey is prepared for a TV interview on Gay Rights in Belarus.

Euro Pride 2010EuroPride 2010Protestors threw eggs, yelled hate speech, gave out bibles and some even threw holy water.  However, there was a very large police presence and I didn’t hear of anyone being physically assaulted.

EuroPride 2010EuroPride 2010But of course the Pride went on. I thought  it was a very good mix of a party atmosphere and a Human Rights demonstration.

EuroPride 2010Poland holds the first EuroPride ever in eastern Europe.  Around 8,000 people attended and no one was physically assaulted.  It was a fine day.

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Budapest Pride – July 10, 2010

Budapest Pride 2010The week before the Pride, workshops were held on different topics concerning the LGBT community.  My favorite was Hungarian photographer Judith M. Horváth’s comparison of the Roma community to the LGBT community.  Judith and her husband’s images of the Roma were just incredible.

Budapest Pride 2010Clare Dimyon, in orange, discusses her experience attending different Prides around the EU.  Clare was awarded the MBE, Member of the British Empire Award, by the Queen for her work.  Here she explains one of her photos on display in the British Embassy.

Budapest Pride 2010“Beyond Gay: The Politics of Pride” co-producer Morris Chapdelaine, (right),  attended the march and held a Q&A with one of the Budapest Pride organizers, (left) after the screening of his documentary.    It was great to finally meet Morris after following his movie’s FB page for so long.

Budapest Pride 2010Police are posted outside of  a local movie theater which hosted several pre-Pride events.  Earlier in the week a group of skinheads ripped down the Rainbow flag and assaulted an individual.

Budapest Pride 2010Budapest 2010City workers began putting up steel barricades around 9am, and riot-police started suiting up around 11.  However, as the march didn’t start until 3pm, the streets were very quiet.

Budapest Pride 2010Because of the violence that took place at the 2007 and 2008 Prides, streets are now totally blocked off.  This is great for keeping participants safe from protestors, but it can defeat the purpose of a public event.

Budapest Pride 2010Problems.  The police and organizers are having communication difficulties.  Police have not blocked off the route as in previous years, and say they will not walk the route with participants.  Security after the Pride is also in question.

Budapest Pride 2010Organizers and volunteers check each individual that comes into the Pride grounds.  Bags are checked for weapons and several right-wingers posing as participants are turned away.  Unfortunately, some do make it past the guards.

Budapest PrideAround 1,000 participants show up for Budapest’s 15th Pride.

Budapest Pride 2010

A group of young skinheads showed up pretty early.  I think the oldest one out of this group was 16 years old.

Budapest Pride 2010An obviously intoxicated protestor screams at participants who are blocks away.

Budapest Pride 2010Police quickly arrested four skinheads who tried to disrupt the Pride.

Budapest Pride 2010Despite the communication problems, I thought the police did a very good job.  It was an extremely hot day and I can’t believe anyone would want to stand around for hours in that riot-gear.  This was the first Pride where I had several officers give me their emails so I could send them photos.

Budapest Pride 2010At the end of the march participants head down to the subway, which has been closed off  specifically for the Pride.  At every exit along the route riot-police are also waiting.

Budapest Pride 2010The next day a small group gathered at the grave of Károly Kertbeny, the Hungarian writer and creator of the term “homosexual.”  I was actually very sad to see so few people there.

Again, I would like to thank everyone here in Budapest, especially Hadley who always took the time to speak with us about the community here.

To see more images of Pride, check out the our website:
http://www.walkwithpridenow.com

WWP Blog:
http://wwpproject.wordpress.com

And join us on Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/WWPproject


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London Pride – July, 3rd 2010


London Pride, Gay Rights, LGBT, UK, QueenLondon Pride, Hate Crimes, Gay Rights, LGBT Rights, UKI showed up at London Pride expecting a huge party, which of course it was.  However, I was extremely happy to see that the march is still a platform for many Human Rights groups.  I think the photographs are a small example of the two very different sides of Pride, an aspect that as an individual I struggle with.

London Pride, UK, Gay Rights, Mark AmesMark Ames is a prominent club owner in London, he recently vowed to boycott all Muslim owned businesses in the UK.

London Pride, UK, God, protest, homophobia, Gay RightsThere was a small group of religious protestors at the Pride.  However, I have to say that this is the first Pride that I have been to where the police were there to protect the protestors from the participants.

London Pride, Rainbow Flag, Gay Rights, Human Rights, LGBTAfter being in so many countries where even having a Rainbow Flag is a struggle, seeing this symbol balled up on the street and left waiting for collection for over an hour, really disturbed me.

To see more images of Pride, check out the our website:
http://www.walkwithpridenow.com

WWP Blog:
http://wwpproject.wordpress.com

And join us on Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/WWPproject

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Sofia Pride – June 26, 1010


Sofia Pride, Bulgaria, LGBT RIghts, Gay Rights, Human Rights, Homophobia, homosexual

I had briefly met Marko Mapkob in Athens, and he was nice enough to let us meet up with him when we came to Sofia.

Sofia Pride, Bulgaria, LGBT RIghts, Gay Rights, Human Rights, Homophobia, homosexual

Local photographers opened Pride week with a gallery of photos from previous Prides.  The empty frames will be filled with images from this year’s event.

Sofia Pride, Bulgaria, LGBT RIghts, Gay Rights, Human Rights, Homophobia, homosexual

Organizers hold a meeting at a local restaurant.  Many of the volunteers do not want their faces shown.

Sofia Pride, Bulgaria, LGBT RIghts, Gay Rights, Human Rights, Homophobia, homosexual

Marko is asked to appear on a local radio station to speak about the upcoming Sofia Pride.  The man in white is from a Family Values group.  He argued some very interesting facts like; homosexuals die 20 years younger than straight people, all homosexuals want to legalize gay prostitution and drugs, and that all homosexuals have at least 500 sex partners in their life time.  These statements were presented as “facts” to those listening to the radio show.

Sofia Pride, Bulgaria, LGBT RIghts, Gay Rights, Human Rights, Homophobia, homosexual

During one of the last meetings, organizers are shown pictures of skinheads and organizations that have threatened violence against the Pride.

Volunteers are shown a video of the violence that has occurred during previous Prides.

Sofia Pride, Bulgaria, LGBT RIghts, Gay Rights, Human Rights, Homophobia, homosexual

A fund-raiser is held at a local disco.

Sofia Pride, Bulgaria, LGBT RIghts, Gay Rights, Human Rights, Homophobia, homosexual

A single Rainbow Flag hangs from a window of a friend’s apartment the day of the Pride.

Sofia Pride, Bulgaria, LGBT RIghts, Gay Rights, Human Rights, Homophobia, homosexual

Organizers check the streets below the LGBT headquarters.

Friends are met just before the Pride.

Sofia Pride, Bulgaria, LGBT RIghts, Gay Rights, Human Rights, Homophobia, homosexual

In past years, protestors have thrown Molotov cocktails during the Pride.  Fire extinguishers are now brought along as a precaution.

Sofia Pride, Bulgaria, LGBT RIghts, Gay Rights, Human Rights, Homophobia, homosexual

EU Representive, Michael Cashman, attended the Pride.

Sofia Pride, Bulgaria, LGBT RIghts, Gay Rights, Human Rights, Homophobia, homosexual

Police did a good job keeping protestors away from the Pride.  Even though this man swears he only wants to walk across the park, I would later see him yelling at participants along the Pride route.

Sofia Pride, Bulgaria, LGBT RIghts, Gay Rights, Human Rights, Homophobia, homosexual

Sofia has its 3rd Pride.

Sofia Pride, Bulgaria, LGBT RIghts, Gay Rights, Human Rights, Homophobia, homosexual

While the Pride did have some protestors, and 3 arrests were made, there was none of the extreme violence that had occurred in earlier years.  These two elderly men expressed their dislike, but were not violent.

Sofia Pride, Bulgaria, LGBT RIghts, Gay Rights, Human Rights, Homophobia, homosexual

The march ended in a local park with music and dancing.

Sofia Pride, Bulgaria, LGBT RIghts, Gay Rights, Human Rights, Homophobia, homosexual

Again, I would like to thank everyone in Sofia, and we wish you all the best.

To see more images of Pride, check out the our website:
http://www.walkwithpridenow.com

WWP Blog:
http://wwpproject.wordpress.com

And join us on Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/WWPproject

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Zagreb Pride – June 19, 2010

Zagreb Pride, Croatia, Gay Rights, Human Rights, Gay Pride, Pride Marches, Riot Police, Skin Heads, FascistsSo we headed to Zagreb, Croatia for the city’s 9th Pride.  Earlier Prides had been met with extreme violence from right-wing Fascist groups, but this year there were around 300 police in riot-gear to protect the marchers.  I have to say with each country we have visited, I have gone away with a huge sense of respect for the organizations that run their local Prides, and Zagreb is no exception.

Croatia, Zagreb Pride, Gay Rights, Human Rights, Homophobia, HomosexualA meeting is held by Pride organizers.  The problem is a familiar one.  The local police are trying to change the route of the parade to make it less visible to the public.  A second concern is that the city has granted a right-wing group the right to protest along the Pride’s route.

Zagreb Pride, Croatia, Gay Rights, Human Rights, Gay Pride, Pride Marches, Riot Police, Skin Heads, FascistsZagreb Pride, Croatia, Gay Rights, Human Rights, Gay Pride, Pride Marches, Riot Police, Skin Heads, FascistsHere Pride organizers, 31 year old Franko Dota and 25 year old Marko Jurčić, lead a public round table to discuss ways to overcome widespread homophobia in Croatian institutions.

Croatia, Zagreb Pride, Gay Rights, Human Rights, Homophobia, HomosexualCroatia, Zagreb Pride, Gay Rights, Human Rights, Homophobia, HomosexualSigns and flags are put together at the Zagreb Pride’s office.  The office is situated in an old abandoned factory and turned into an artists compound.

Croatia, Zagreb Pride, Gay Rights, Human Rights, Homophobia, Homosexual

Croatia, Zagreb Pride, Gay Rights, Human Rights, Homophobia, HomosexualParticipants meet at a local square and prepare for the start of Zagreb Pride.  Croatian actor, Rade Serbedzija, shows his support for the local LGBT community.  Do you want to disagree with Boris the Blade?

Croatia, Zagreb Pride, Gay Rights, Human Rights, Homophobia, HomosexualCroatia, Zagreb Pride, Gay Rights, Human Rights, Homophobia, HomosexualThe Pride goes on under the protection of a lot of anti-riot police.

Homophobia, Nazi, fascist, Zagreb PrideHomophobia, Nazi, fascist, Zagreb PrideHomophobia, Nazi, fascist, Zagreb Pride

The group of protestors, which seemed to be made up mostly of under-aged boys, did everything from Nazi salutes, to anti-gay songs, to showing female participants their sexual organs.  Several arrests were made.  During this arrest, one of the police officers kicked this young man in the head.  It was broadcasted on the news over and over again.  Not one Pride participant I talked to took any joy in the scene.  Instead, they each expressed concern for the boy.  This is even after several of the Pride participants were attacked by groups of young men as they walked home after the march.

Zagreb PrideThe Pride ends at a local park with speeches, music, and dancing.

Zagreb Pride

We then head back to the artist compound for a great after-party.  We had an incredible time in Croatia and thank everyone there for making it such a remarkable experience.

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Istanbul’s First Trans Pride – July 13, 2010

Instead of photographing Istanbul’s main pride event, Sarah had read about a small group holding a separate Transgender Pride.  This was to be a first in Istanbul, with the march being held to bring awareness to hate crimes and discrimination faced by the transgender community living there. Transgenders are a minority in a minority, and one major problem is that they are often looked upon as outsiders by their local gay communities.  This can often make the resources available to the gay community not as focused on the needs and requirements of transgender individuals.

Our first day in Istanbul we made contact with LGBTT activist Sevval Kilia, who immediately welcomed us into the community. Sevval works as a counselor at the Womens’ Door Outreach Program, which provides support for people in need.

I started out the gallery with just a couple of very simple portraits.    Often these women are looked at as “exotic animals,” – I would see people photographing them from a “safe” distance, or just staring.  With these portraits I wanted to show a very human side of them, which many people may forget to think about.

Many of the women that make up Istanbul’s transgender community are not just activists for LGBT rights, but also belong to many different Human Rights groups.  Here Demet Demir, in red,  joins a protest for the 30,000 Kurdish individuals who have disappeared in Turkey.

Hate crimes against transgenders have been on the rise in Istanbul.  In the last year alone eight individuals have been murdered.   A few days before we arrived, this young woman was attacked by five men on a public street.  Police are of little help, and even when arrests are made, the offenders rarely see more than a slap on the wrist.

A woman asks me to take a photo of her holding a portrait of herself.

Sevval and Ebru Kiranci tape up posters announcing the date, time, and location of the Pride.  Ebru is another woman who we would spend a lot of time with and come to admire.

A man reacts to Erbu’s flyer announcing the Pride.

The WWP’s Sarah Baxter and German film documentor, Maria Binder work on a proposal for much needed financial support.  The proposal is sent to the Urgent Action Fund Group and much to everyone’s delight it is approved the next day.

The LGBTT office is a small and simple rented flat.  This is where we would spend most of our time.  The atmosphere here is very warm and inviting.  Many people come in and out during the day, just to chat and to see how everyone else is doing.

The day before the pride a press conference was scheduled at the LGBTT office.  Several journalist from the local press were expected to show, but not one did.  The local press does not give favorable stories on the local LGBT community on the grounds of “morality” issues.

The girls shop for instruments that will be used in the Pride.

Erbu listens to a health discussion held as part of the Pride.

Michelle and several of the other participants get ready for the march.

What I thought was going to be a small and quiet event turned into a Pride of almost 500 people. I was really caught off guard.

Sarah and I had an absolutely great week in Istanbul.  We met some really incredible and remarkable people, who were so open and kind to us both.  We wish them all the best, and can not thank them enough.

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