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Rosovaya - marching for those who can’t

June 25th, 2006     by piKe krpan     Comments

Hi everyone,

Pride Weekend is fully underway in Toronto and there is the usual corporate mess of advertisements. But at yesterday’s Dyke March, our queer community continued to make the march a political event. Everywhere I saw shirts that read “rosovaya” - which is “pink” in Russian and slang for lesbian. The back of the shirts read “Marching for those who can’t - Moscow 2006.”

At the end of May 2006 Moscow struggled to hold its first-ever Pride Parade. Although homosexuality was decriminalized in 1993 in Russia, there continues to be significant opposition to queer visibility and the queer community is largely underground. The city of Moscow banned the parade arguing that it would provoke violence and division in the city. Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov said homosexual parades “may be acceptable for some kind of progressive, in some sense, countries in the West but it is absolutely unacceptable for Moscow, for Russia.”

Activists went ahead with their plans and attempted to lay flowers near the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier outside the Kremlin. They were met by a nasty group of skinheads, Orthodox Christians and radical nationalists. Of course riot police busted everything up by targeting prominent gay and lesbian activists.

It was a powerful statement to see so many women walking yesterday in solidarity with Russian queers. All week I have been explaining to my heterosexual friends that the Dyke March is not a “parade” for me. (I was trying to convince them to attend parts of the Pride Week events other than the corporate Sunday march!) The Dyke March is not a show of pageantry and pomp for the world to see how glamorous and fantastic and over the top us homos can be (although of course we are ALL THOSE THINGS, but so, so much more.) For me, the Dyke March is an opportunity to be me, to be so totally me, to put my voice and my issues front and centre, and while it is empowering to have people stand aside for us, and watch us march by, the passion of this march is to be with so many different women, to take up a voice, and take up space - together.

In solidarity, p

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