Europride 2015. Changing history is hot!

This blog is by LGBTI Network member Ferran Nogueroles

Later this month, 25 years after regaining independence from the Soviet Union, Latvia will be the first post-Soviet country to host EuroPride. It marks a decade since Riga hosted its first Pride – an event that saw incredible violence and hostility, when 70 activists faced the fury of several thousand protesters. 

This violence did not deter the incredible LGBTI activists behind Pride and this summer’s event in Latvia represents the first time that EuroPride is taking place on the European Union's eastern border with Russia – providing an opportunity to stand in solidarity with those struggling to fight oppression of LGBTI rights just across the border.

Together we can use the event to draw global attention to this region and solicit international support for the promotion of LGBTI rights. EuroPride 2015 will truly be the hotspot of LGBTI life in Europe this summer, supported by the local and international LGBTI community.

Overcoming obstacles: Standing up for LGBTI rights in the Baltic

I have attended each pride march in the Baltic countries since 2007 and I will not miss the biggest LGBTI event in the region’s history. I have witnessed first-hand the obstacles that the local Latvian and Lithuanian LGBTI communities and their organisers have had to stand up to. These include all sorts of administrative and legal bans, counter-protesters outnumbering supporters, physical and verbal threats, G8 summit-style security and the fear of the majority of the LGBTI that is too scared to be seen in public. Read a detailed history of Pride in the Baltics

It makes me extremely proud, however, that despite all these hurdles, they have managed, bit by bit, day by day, year by year chip away the walls of inequality and expand the space for human rights in the whole region: Riga Pride has actively supported and encouraged the participation of LGBTI leaders from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and other former Soviet countries.

That’s why we've produced banners to help the UK show solidarity – and you can sign your name. We already held an event in London last week and we were at Prides in Birmingham and Oxford collecting signatures.

Want to add your name? Come find us at Blackpool Pride this weekend. We'll then take the signed banners with us to Riga to show we stand in solidarity with the Latvian LGBTI community.

All this and much more deserves a celebration. Let’s celebrate Europride 2015!

Love is a Human Right.

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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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