We’re making history!

We’re making history!
We did it. The first ever Russian-Ukrainian march took place in Toronto as part of the big Pride parade on Sunday June 28.
A big thank you to our partners KyivPride Canada, especially John and Katya Vellinga and Michelle Emson (penultimate photo). Our special guest Olena Semenova, one of the initiators of the Kyiv Pride in Ukraine, came all the way from Kyiv to help organize the march and bring the dope on the recent developments in Ukraine with regard to human rights, LGBT rights in particular. She’s also expected to share her expertise and lecture a group of HL activists on ‘creative protest’ later this week. A big thank you to our highly organized and creative volunteers and their tireless leader Justin Romanov without whose enthusiasm and go-getting character provided a huge contribution to the general sense of the occasion (last photo).
It is now time to impart a secret: the idea of merging the two marches originated from HL. Inspired by what we saw as KyivPride Canada’s contribution to the World Pride 2014, we were some time casting about for ideas for a Russian Pride march. Then the obvious idea struck: with the war in Ukraine still unextinguished, with Putin’s homophobic legislation and the entrenched climate of human rights violations in Russia as well as with Ukraine walking a tightrope between European integration or taking things into reverse in terms of human rights, the idea to amalgamate the Ukrainian march with a newly formed Russian one seemed almost up for grabs. To be honest, we did expect an apprehensive reaction from the Ukrainians, but the idea caught on immediately.
Our next rally will be held on July 4, 2015, and will be concerned with the fate of NGOs in Russia that have been targeted as ‘spies’ in recent years, their operations meddled with and their offices and members attacked.


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