Major LGBT Conference Held In Belarus While Authorities Looked The Other Way

Jim Burroway

October 5th, 2009

The situation for LGBT people in Belarus has always been difficult. While the legal ban on homosexual behavior was lifted in 1994, Belarus law offers no protections for its LGBT citizens and officially-sanction harassment remains rampant in the former Soviet republic. Every attempt to hold Gay Pride marches since 1999 has failed due to official bans. In 2004, a conference by the International Lesbian and Gay Cultural Network was canceled after authorities threatened the host organizers and threatened to expel participating foreigners. Belarus routinely blocks access to LGBT websites.

Minsk ConferenceAnd so it was quite a surprise to learn that Belarus authorities allowed a large (by Eastern European standards) international LGBT conference to proceed this year undisturbed. (That lack of interference may explain why the conference went largely unnoticed in the West.) On Saturday, September 26, more than 100 participants from ten countries gathered for “Movement and NGOs: Prospects for Cooperation with active civil society to overcome homophobia in Belarus” at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Minsk.

The conference, billed as the largest ever Belarusian LGBT conference, closed with a resolution calling on President Alexander Lukashenko and the government of Belarus to end discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, provide protections against hate crimes, grant equal rights to same-sex couples, to end the practice of blocking internet access to LGBT web sites, and to support Slavic Pride slated for May 15, 2010.

Russian and Belarusian LGBT activists have been working together for nearly a year on several joint projects, including last May’s Slavic Pride in Moscow. When Moscow riot police broke up the march and arrested most of the participants, the Belarusian Embassy in Moscow refused to provide assistance for their own detainees. Next year’s Slavic Pride will be held in Minsk.

Conference participants came from across Belarus, as well as Poland, Ukraine, France, Switzerland, Germany, Sweden, Hungary, United Kingdom and Russia. Some of the organizations represented include the Belarusian Helsinki Committee, Belarusian Social Democratic Party, the Green Party, the Association of Belarusian Journalists, and activists from the GayRussia.ru LGBT portal. Observers from the Swedish, French and Hungarian embassies were also in attendance. The Swedish Embassy hosted a reception for conference participants at a Minsk restaurant.

Burr

October 6th, 2009

But I thought gay rights were communist/socialist!

You mean to tell me that decades of socialist brainwashing in Eastern Europe didn’t force gay rights down everyone’s throats? [/snark]

Leave A Comment

All comments reflect the opinions of commenters only. They are not necessarily those of anyone associated with Box Turtle Bulletin. Comments are subject to our Comments Policy.

(Required)
(Required, never shared)

PLEASE NOTE: All comments are subject to our Comments Policy.

 

Latest Posts

Texas Leads A Five-State Lawsuit Over Obamacare Transgender Rules

Wikileaks Outs Saudi Gay Men, Male Rape Victims, People With HIV

Is Australia's Marriage Equality Plebiscite Doomed?

Today's Agenda Is Brought To You By...

Today In History, 1970: New York Times Looks At "Homosexuals In Revolt"

Today In History, 1977: "The Advocate" Reports Another FBI Document Dump On Gay Rights Groups

Today In History, 1977: Houston Klan: "We Endorse and Seek the Execution of All Homosexuals"

Today In History, 1988: Canada's Largest Protestant Church Accepts Gay Ordination

Featured Reports

What Are Little Boys Made Of?

In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.

Slouching Towards Kampala: Uganda’s Deadly Embrace of Hate

When we first reported on three American anti-gay activists traveling to Kampala for a three-day conference, we had no idea that it would be the first report of a long string of events leading to a proposal to institute the death penalty for LGBT people. But that is exactly what happened. In this report, we review our collection of more than 500 posts to tell the story of one nation’s embrace of hatred toward gay people. This report will be updated continuously as events continue to unfold. Check here for the latest updates.

Paul Cameron’s World

In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.

From the Inside: Focus on the Family’s “Love Won Out”

On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.

Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"

The Heterosexual Agenda: Exposing The Myths

At last, the truth can now be told.

Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!

And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.

Testing The Premise: Are Gays A Threat To Our Children?

Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.

Straight From The Source: What the “Dutch Study” Really Says About Gay Couples

Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.

The FRC’s Briefs Are Showing

Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.

Daniel Fetty Doesn’t Count

Daniel FettyThe FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.