Hate and Pride
My in-laws are Polish. They live, perhaps not surprisingly, in Poland.
I remember visiting a couple of years back and being in the company of some friends/acquaintances (can’t quite remember) who had a small child. My own little girl had brought along a Teletubby doll and, in the manner of small children and brightly coloured toys, the Polish boy had fairly soon gained possession and seemed delighted with it.
The gathered company, or at least the Scottish contingent, were slightly bemused when the boy’s father grabbed the doll and shouted at the boy that the tellytubbies were “gay” and that no son of his was growing up to be a deviant (for me, this came in translation).
Firstly, the boy was three.
Secondly, even if one of the Teletubbies does carry a handbag and have a triangle on his head, I think the father might have been reading a little too much into it.
Thirdly, what do I care if Tinky Winky is gay anyway? Love is a human right, after all.
Amnesty, as you may know, campaigns for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to be free from physical and verbal attacks and threats; free to assemble and organise events; and adequately protected by law enforcement officials.
Alas the situation for LGBT folks across Eastern Europe leaves much to be desired. There has been so much opposition (including violent, threatening opposition) to attempts to organise Pride marches that Amnesty activists from over 30 countries converged on Riga in May to support the third annual Pride march there.
Fortunately the event passed off without serious incident, and this time the police made a genuine effort to protect the marchers from the usual turnout of abusive protestors. But the stark contrast between one group of smiley, colourful folk meandering down the street with flags and whistles, being met by yelling, jeers and insults from a hostile crowd made for such an interesting sight that Amnesty has turned photographs of the day into an exhibition.
I suggest you go see it.
PS. Given that the Teletubbies also features an enormous wind turbine perched on a grassy hill, and that the childlike characters dine exclusively on pink custard and toast, I’m surprised there hasn’t been more of a backlash. There’s probably a website and a small, but committed, campaign.
Hate and Pride will be shown at the Q! Gallery from Friday 14th November to Wednesday 10th December.
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.