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|Russia's Foremost Gay Activist Speaking in San Francisco Monday Evening|
|Date||Monday March 07|
|Time||5:30 PM - 7:30 PM|
|Import this event into your personal calendar.|
|Due to an 11th hour venue cancellation, we will meet in front of the Metropolitan Community Church, 150 Eureka Street, San Francisco at 5:30 PM, after which we will go to nearby location for the event.|
|LGBTliberation [at] aol.com|
In his continuing campaign to spread the word about this May's Moscow Gay Pride and thus hopefully forestall threatened repression by the Russian authorities, the country's foremost gay leader, Nikolai Alekseev, will speak in San Francisco Monday evening, March 7.
Due to an eleventh hour cancellation of the room reservation for the event by the host venue, Metropolitan Community Church, 150 Eureka Street, attendees are asked to meet in front of the Church at 5:30 PM, at which point we will go to a nearby venue for the event.
For the last six years, lesbian and gay activists in Russia have faced beatings, government bans, intimidation and arrests simply for trying to establish their right to demonstrate for equal rights, let alone winning the rights themselves.
All major religious denominations and political parties in Russia have called for continued government repression of Moscow Pride. Yet after more than five years of "illegal" protests and legal battles in the Russian and international courts, in late October Alekseev's GayRussia organization (http://www.GayRussia.eu/en) alone among the myriad opposition groups in the country won the first-ever victory in the European Court of Human Rights.
The European Court unanimously ruled that Russia had violated Russian LGBT's right to assemble and order the government to pay GayRussia the equivalent of $40,000 US. This was the first time that any opposition or human rights group had defeated the Russian government over any issue in the European Court. But despite the unanimous ruling against it, including by the Russian judge, the government appealed the Court's ruling on the last legally possible day. A ruling on the Russian government's appeal of the European Court decision is expected before the May 28 demonstration.
Legal or "illegal," Russian lesbians and gays have vowed to go forward with their protest in a public place in the center of Moscow on Saturday, May 28.
Assuming, as is most likely, that the European court rejects the Russian government's appeal, the Russian authorities will be confronted with a choice which will reverberate far beyond LGBT issues: Either jeopardize closer ties to Western Europe by ignoring the court ruling, or obey the ruling and gain greater international legitimacy by being seen as a nation improving its human rights record. The final answer will come on May 28 when GayRussia has scheduled Moscow Pride 2011.
Included in Alekseev's presentation will be a short film showing government and mob repressions of Moscow Gay Pride over the past few years and remarks by Chicago-based gay activist Andy Thayer, who has participated in last two years' Moscow Pride events and along with others was arrested in 2009.