After the attacks in Orlando, it is more important than ever that we send a very strong signal condemning any form of hatred and violence against LGBTI persons. With this year’s Pride season, we want to send the clear message: love conquers hate. We stand up for all people attacked by homo- and transphobia. In times of a societal backlash, with right wing populists pushing debates back to the dark ages, we have to be out there, proudly showing that we embrace diversity. We support all LGBTI activists who have conquered the streets of Europe throughout the last month to celebrate diversity. We went to Warsaw and Paris. We supported activists in Istanbul and Kiev. We took over the streets in Vilnius and Vienna showing that another, more open and more equal Europe, is possible.
VilniusTogether with the European Green Party, we organised a conference “European Queer GREENS – Out and Green” in Vilnius. Our MEPs, Ulrike Lunacek, co-president of the LGBTI intergroup and Terry Reintke, member of the LGBTI intergroup, co-hosted the conference, which gave the go-ahead for the creation of a European Queer GREEN network.
The Baltic Pride took place for the third time this year. It was a big success that the authorities allowed the Pride to take place in the centre, giving it a prominent route though the city. More than 2,000 people were on the streets, sending a strong signal in favour or an open and equal society.
KievIn many countries, Pride marches are still violently attacked or prevented from happening all together. Just last year in Kiev, we saw shocking pictures of brutal assaults, while the police were unorganised and reluctant to provide the necessary protection. This is why Rebecca Harms, our group’s Co-President, had already decided last year that she would participate in the 2016 Kiev Pride.
The march took place in the city centre. Not only did the approximately 1,500 participants exceed the number of participants from last year, but it also proceeded peacefully. Activists expressed relief and called the demonstration an important symbol for tolerance and against hate and exclusion. Young Ukrainians took a stand for equal rights, for freedom of assembly, and for pluralism, thereby repeating major demands of Euromaidan.
WarsawThroughout the last month, the current Polish government undertook numerous attacks against an open and equal society. This year’s Pride was therefore an important opportunity to demonstrate that many people in Poland are prepared to stand up against the old reactionaries.
There is a strong alliance of NGOs in Poland who are fighting against the societal backlash. Our MEPs, Ulrike Lunacek and Terry Reintke, went to Warsaw together, supporting local activists. We stand side by side with them and support their efforts.