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In-person Pride events to take place around the world

Activists have scheduled marches, galas, forums

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Thousands of people attended the Jerusalem March for Pride and Tolerance on June 3, 2021. (Photo courtesy of Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance)

Activists around the world are planning to hold in-person Pride events this year.

Organizers of Tijuana GLBTI Pride in the Mexican border city say a decrease in coronavirus cases has allowed them to hold a march on June 19. Participants will be required to wear masks and socially distance. Tijuana GLBTI Pride organizers also plan to distribute condoms at a gay bar in downtown Tijuana.

“The GLBT community and owners of entertainment venues and establishments in the region have also suffered a blow with the arrival of the pandemic caused by the coronavirus a year ago,” wrote Tijuana GLBTI Pride Coordinator Lorenzo Herrera on his group’s website, noting the decrease in coronavirus cases in Mexico’s Baja California state has allowed businesses to reopen. “It allows for the reopening of establishments like bars and cantinas.”

“This new normality and opening of spaces allowed us to resume planning for the 2021 Pride march,” added Herrera.

The Organization for Refuge, Asylum and Migration, a Minnesota-based organization that works with LGBTQ migrants and refugees around the world, and Alight on June 13 will hold a digital Pride brunch on both sides of the Mexico-U.S. border with Jardín de las Mariposas, a shelter in Tijuana for LGBTQ migrants and asylum seekers. Frenchie Davis is among those who are scheduled to perform at ORAM’s #RefugeePride Gala on June 17.

Rainbow Sunrise Mapambazuko, an LGBTQ advocacy group in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is scheduled to hold a Pride event in the city of Bukavu on June 26.

The Spanish Embassy in D.C. commissioned London Kaye, a Los Angeles-based artist, to create a crocheted mural that features Federico García Lorca, a gay Spanish poet and playwright who Spanish Nationalists executed in 1936 shortly after the country’s Civil War began. The mural is currently displayed above the entrance to the Spanish ambassador’s former home in Columbia Heights.

Tbilisi Pride on July 5 is scheduled to hold a march in the Georgian capital. The group on its Facebook page says the pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on LGBTQ Georgians.

“Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and gay people experience oppression and discrimination on a daily basis,” it notes. “Hate groups are constantly trying to stir up hostility in society towards us. By weaponizing homophobia, these groups try to sow discord and divide society or social movements, to discredit various just demands. The state often leaves the criminal activities of violent groups and their leaders unpunished, thereby normalizing violence against (LGBTQ) people and, at the same time hinders development and justice-oriented social, political and economic change.”

“We need to make our voices heard by our family, friends, colleagues, fellow citizens and the state,” proclaimed Tbilisi Pride.

WorldPride 2021, which will take place in Copenhagen, Denmark, and Malmö, Sweden, from Aug. 12-22, will feature both virtual and in-person events. Uganda Pride will hold their Pride events in October, as opposed to this month, because the government has imposed a partial lockdown in response to an increase in COVID-19 cases.

Thousands attend Jerusalem Pride march

Israel is among the countries in which in-person Pride events have already taken place.

Thousands of people attended the annual Jerusalem March for Pride and Tolerance on June 3.

The in-person event took place less than two weeks after a cease fire between Israel and Hamas militants that govern the Gaza Strip took effect. The future of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and tensions over the eviction of several Palestinian families from their homes in East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood also loomed large over the Jerusalem March for Pride and Tolerance.

Cuba’s National Center for Sexual Education last month held a series of virtual events that commemorated the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia.

CENESEX Director Mariela Castro, who is the daughter of former Cuban President Raúl Castro, during a May 4 press conference in Havana announced a bill that would amend the country’s family code will be introduced in Parliament in July. Tremenda Nota, the Washington Blade’s media partner in Cuba, reported Mariela Castro said this year’s IDAHOBiT events are part of the aforementioned effort and will help make Cubans more receptive to LGBTQ rights.

“I was able to appreciate that the majority of the population … is in favor of recognizing the rights of LGBTI+ people and especially the rights in the family sphere that include the possibility, the option, of marriage,” Mariela Castro told reporters on May 4.

U.S. embassies fly Pride flags

Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Samantha Power are among the American officials who have publicly acknowledged Pride month.

Blinken in April said U.S. embassies and consulates can once again fly the Pride flag.

The U.S. Embassy in the Bahamas this month is flying the Pride flag for the first time. Alexus D’Marco, an activist who is a member of LGBTI Bahamas, a Bahamian advocacy group, on Monday referred to Eleanor Roosevelt when she discussed the impact the gesture has had on LGBTQ Bahamians.

“It’s not in protest,” D’Marco told the Blade. “It’s a lead by example effort that may be saying, yes we admit that we may have flaws as countries and in some cases former colonists, but we do this to dissuade you from making the same mistake of thinking that some are better than others. It’s an open invitation to join the changing world, for us the older generations to listen to the voice of the youth who are telling us very clearly and loudly that the future they envision is not one of stigma and discrimination, instead it is one with human rights and dignity for all in a land that is sustainable and full of that ‘the-ness.'”

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Europe

Switzerland marriage equality law takes effect

Voters last September overwhelmingly approved ‘Marriage for All’ law

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(Public domain photo)

A law that allows same-sex couples to legally marry in Switzerland took effect on Friday.

Swiss voters last September voted overwhelmingly in favor of the “Marriage for All” law.

Maria von Känel of Regenbogenfamilien (Rainbow Families) on Friday posted to her Facebook page a picture of her and her wife with a marriage license and a message that said “the celebrations can begin.”

Neighboring Austria, Germany and France are among the European countries that have extended marriage rights to same-sex couples. Scott Miller, the U.S. ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein who is openly gay, is married to Tim Gill.

“Today we celebrate marriage for all,” tweeted the U.S. Embassy in Switzerland on Friday. “Congratulations to Switzerland on this historic day.”

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Russia

Brittney Griner trial begins in Moscow

WNBA star faces up to 10 years in prison

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(Screenshot courtesy of Russian television)

The trial of detained WNBA star Brittney Griner began on Friday in Moscow.

Russian media reports indicate authorities initially did not allow journalists into the court room, but two reporters were eventually able to enter. The Washington Post reported U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Elizabeth Rood and other American diplomats were present.

Officials at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport in February detained Griner — a Phoenix Mercury center and two-time Olympic gold medalist who is a lesbian and married to her wife, Cherelle Griner, — after customs inspectors allegedly found hashish oil in her luggage. The State Department later determined that Russia “wrongfully detained” her.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken on May 14 spoke with Cherelle Griner. White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan this week said he has also spoken with her.

Officials with the State Department’s Office of the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs and Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs on June 13 met with Brittney Griner’s teammates to discuss her detention and efforts to secure her release.

Brittney Griner on June 18 was unable to speak with her wife on their fourth anniversary because the phone at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow that she called went unanswered. A State Department spokesperson later admitted a “logistical error” prevented Brittney Griner from speaking with Cherelle Griner.

Brittney Griner faces up to 10 years in prison if she is convicted.

The Council for Global Equality and the Human Rights Campaign are among the dozens of advocacy groups who signed a letter to President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris last week that urged them to do more to secure Brittney Griner’s release. The U.S. House of Representatives on June 24 approved a resolution that called upon Russia to immediately release her.

“Brittney Griner is wrongfully detained, unjustly detained and we have made that clear as an official determination of the U.S. government,” Sullivan told reporters on Tuesday. “Second, the Russian government should release her and allow her to be returned and reunited with her family and come home safe and sound.”

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Caribbean

Final vote on new Cuba family code expected in September

Same-sex couples poised to receive marriage, adoption rights

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(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The Washington Blade’s media partner in Cuba is reporting a final referendum on whether the final draft of a new family code that would extend marriage and adoption rights to same-sex couples will take place in September.

Tremenda Nota on June 23 reported a specific date for the referendum has not been announced, but it quoted comments President Miguel Díaz-Canel made the day before during a meeting of the commission that has written the draft. 

“We are entering a decisive stage,” said Díaz-Canel, according to Tremenda Nota. “We are going to need all the support that we need to ensure the emancipatory principles of equality and inclusion that the family code defends are actually approved.”

The National Assembly late last year approved the draft family code. 

A “popular consultation” ended on April 30. Tremenda Nota reported the last of the family code’s 25 drafts was presented to Díaz-Canel and other officials on June 6.

Díaz Canel and Mariela Castro, the daughter of former President Raúl Castro who is the director of Cuba’s National Center for Sexual Education, are among those who publicly support marriage equality. Cuban voters in 2019 overwhelmingly approved the draft of their country’s new constitution, but the government’s decision to remove a marriage equality amendment before the referendum on it sparked outrage among independent LGBTQ and intersex activists.

Efforts to implement the new family code are taking place against the backdrop of continued persecution of LGBTQ and intersex Cubans and others who publicly criticize the country’s government.

Tremenda Nota Editor Maykel González Vivero is among the hundreds of people who were arrested during anti-government protests that took place across Cuba on July 11, 2021.

Yoan de la Cruz, a gay man who used Facebook Live to livestream the first protest that took place in San Antonio de los Baños in Artemisa province. De La Cruz subsequently received a 6-year prison sentence, but he was released on house arrest last month.

Reports indicate Brenda Díaz, a transgender woman who was arrested during a July 11 protest in Güira de Melena in Artemisa province, on Wednesday received a 14-year prison sentence. 

Editor’s note: Tremenda Nota’s original story is here.

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