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1998 News & Events

Russia: First Gay-Pride in Moscow

On August 22, at noon, the corner of the Novy Arbat street and Sadovoye Koltso (Garden Ring) was crowded. People were gathering to take part in the festive procession to honor the Russian Flag Day. But everyone's attention was diverted by a platform painted in all possible colors and boasting two flags - the three-color Russian one and the seven-color, rainbow one - as well as a huge banner running "Free love to free Russia". The space around was covered with about two hundred picturesque characters in feathers, leather, carnival costumes, chains, scarves, hats, holding balloons and little flags. Young, attractive and sexy. This column remained to be the largest, the most informal and the only one whose appearance reminded of the festivities in the streets. "Here, gays and lesbians came", was an excited remark of a member of the organizing committee in gray suit of an official. "Let them participate, why not? I just wish they didn't make a mess. It's a state high day after all..."

A group of foreigners standing by the "Metropol" hotel was ogling the gay platform with bewilderment. Still not believing their own eyes the businessmen addressed the participants with the words, "Do you know what this flag means?" In the West Russia is still viewed as a big village. Laughing, dancing and singing, the gay column entered the Vasilievsky slope and to the watchers' delight conducted an improvised concert. The public debut of the gay community in Moscow was not accompanied by the dramatism of the first open demonstration of their brothers and sisters held in Greenwich Village 30 years earlier. But it seemed to have no lesser importance for their struggle for gay rights and freedoms.

Our World

Russia: Consent Age Lowered to 14

Boris Eltsin, the Russian President, signed the law amending the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. In particular, the words "sixteen years" in the title and text of Article 134 ("Sexual intercourse and other actions of sexual nature with a person younger than sixteen years") will be replaced with the words "fourteen years" ("Rossiyskaya Gazeta" of June 27, 1998). This makes Russian legislation one of the most liberal and democratic in Europe in providing freedom of sexual contacts for its sexually mature citizens.

Ukraine: Gay and Lesbian Center Our World Founded in Lugansk

On 27 December the gay and lesbian center Our World was founded in Lugansk, Ukraine. The main purposes of the center are:

  • protection of human rights and freedoms of homosexuals and improvement of their legal position in the state; struggle against discrimination of people based on their sexual orientation;
  • improvement of the public attitude towards homosexuality and homosexuals; lowering of homophobic feelings in public consciousness.
  • upbringing of gay and lesbian self-awareness as equal and valuable members of the community.

Ukraine: Weekly Lost Trial to Leader of Communist Party

In November the Ukrainian "Boulevard" weekly newspaper ran the refutation of its own article "Is the leader of Ukrainian communists a homosexual?" ( 14 dated March 20, 1998) - further to the ruling of the Radiansky regional court of Kiev. Besides, the paper is to pay 75 thousand grivnas to P. Simonenko for the compensation of moral damage.

Our World

Ukraine: Gay Verses Collection Published

Ukraine has seen the publishing of the first compilation of gay poetry titled "You are my bouquet of roses". Addressing the readers Andrei Ametist, the chief editor, writes: "Let us experience blissful moments of love, pain of separation and unfaithfulness, hopes of beautiful and unique feelings together with our still unknown young Ukrainian poets". The biggest part of the presented poems are in Russian. There are two thousand copies printed. The address of the editorial board: P.B.49, Storozhinets, Chernovitskaya obl., 275400, UKRAINE

Our World

Ukraine: Persecution Of "Simona" Weekly Newspaper

Kharkov is undergoing the surge of persecutions against the publications containing erotic materials. Recently the local department of work with juvenile delinquents of the town of Chuguevo (a regional center) demanded that the post office ban the selling of the weekly journal "Simona" through news-stands. The letter 4 dated May 28, 1998 signed by the head of the above-mentioned organization runs: "The "Simona" journal is the publication of lesbians and homosexuals. Owing to this journal which your service diligently distributes, some "activists"-homos that have appeared in the town lately, are making attempts to organize their club aiming at sexual depraving of our (and your) children and grandchildren".

The reply article in the "Simona" weekly says: "It is regrettable to hear such statements, that crudely suppress human rights, in the late 90s". Red-tape functionaries completely disregard the fact that the paper has published important information concerning prevention of AIDS and drug-abuse as well as other medical materials. In such a way the right to information gets violated, specialized publications are banned.

Our World

Ukraine: We Are with You

January 7-10 in Kiev there was held first in Ukraine an International Seminar dedicated to the problem of HIV/AIDS. The seminar was prepared by Kiev Center of Mutual Aid of the HIV-positive citizens of Ukraine "My S Vami" ("We Are With You").

The organization "We Are With You" was founded in March, 1996. The help in formation of the Center was provided by UN Program of Development and Social Service for Youth of Kiev State Administration. Amongst tasks of the Center are to render the psychosocial help to the people with HIV/AIDS, their relatives and friends; to give the medical consultation and help; to initiate consolidation and self-organizing of Ukrainian HIV+ citizens etc.

Valery Yudin

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