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Latvia: Has Country Reached the Tipping Point on LGBT Rights?

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

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Local gay activist Kaspars Zalitis thinks so, and hopes change will come soon to the European country.

SDGLN reports:

Zalitis recalls the early years of Gay Pride festivities, such as in 2006 when 70 or so LGBT people bravely marched in the Riga Pride Parade under the guard of hundreds of police officers outfitted in riot gear as 3,000 angry agitators hurled human excrement, holy water and rotten tomatoes at them. In following years, authorities put up fences and forced Pride participants into a “zoo” like environment where the homophobes and haters – an unholy alliance of neo-Nazis, right-wingers, ultra-nationalists and Christian fundamentalists — surrounded them shouting anti-gay slogans and tossing objects into their midst.

By 2012, Zalitis says, the fence came down and the opposition grew less violent. “We didn’t have to walk in the ‘zoo’ anymore,” he said. That same year, Riga won its bid to host Europride 2015. The international event, featuring artistic and sports activities in addition to the Pride Parade, debuted in London in 1992, and has since been staged in cities such as Berlin, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Paris, Stockholm, Vienna, Madrid, Manchester, Oslo and Hamburg.

Just as LGBT rights are slowly marching across the South here in the US, they are also making their way into former communist block countries in Eastern Europe.

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Eastern Europe Behind on Rights for LGBT Citizens

Monday, May 17th, 2010

While eastern European countries tend to be the least gay-friendly in the EU, the Polish leader of the European Parliament has thrown his weight behind international anti-homophobia day. A fresh survey by the International Lesbian and Gay Association has said that the predominantly Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christian countries of eastern Europe have the worst track record on gay rights.

Ukraine and Russia scored the lowest on the ILGA index, closely followed by Belarus, Moldova and Turkey. In the EU, Cyprus, Latvia and Poland are the least progressive. Belarus police on Saturday (15 May) cemented the country’s reputation by violently breaking-up a small, 20-person-strong Slavic Pride march.

At the other end, Sweden is the most liberal. Norway, the Netherlands, Iceland and the UK also scored highly.

Full Story from the EU Observer

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