The second visiting Russian queer festival Barents Pride took place in Kirkenes, Norway. Sergey Khazov-Kassia, a special correspondent for Radio Liberty, told about how this event took place.
“September 29. The small Norwegian city of Kirkenes is 15 km from the Russian-Norwegian border. Rainbow flags, banners in Russian, Norwegian and English, travesty artists with the mayor of the city at the head of the column, many children, smiling policemen with rainbow flags attached to the chevrons. Despite the sun, it’s cold. The Norwegians are talking among themselves, the Russians are bawling the songs: “I am free, like a bird in the sky” and chant: “Love is the right person!”
The second Barents Pride, organized by the Murmansk LGBT group “Maximum” together with Amnesty International and the Norwegian LGBT organization FRI, differed from the big prides by only a small number of participants: the event gathered 300 people. Many have No Photo stickers on their chest – they came from Russia and don’t want to “light up” for fear of persecution in their homeland. Last year, three participants had to talk in detail with the FSB officers at the border, and Murmansk social networks exploded with homophobic posts. Fortunately, the deal was limited to online threats.
“I wanted to first stick No Photo, but then somehow I got carried away and thought: why be afraid?” Says Alla, 51, a Murmansk woman in Murmansk. According to Alla, she herself is not an LGBT activist, but came to the Barents Pride, “because everything is forbidden in Russia”. The last straw for her was a criminal case on extremism and insulting the feelings of believers, instituted against a resident of Barnaul for publishing a photo of the procession on a broken road with the signature: “In Russia, two evils are fools and …”. “Yes, I myself could repost such a picture,” Alla remarks. It must be said that the Russian law enforcement agencies did not see extremism as threats to the activists who came after the 2017 Barents Pride and calls to burn gays in gas chambers. Read more via QNews