Europride in Riga will send ‘strong signal’ to anti-gay neighbors

Latvian capital wins bid to host Europride in 2015, coinciding with country's EU Presidency

Europride in Riga will send ‘strong signal’ to anti-gay neighbors
04 September 2012

Riga in Latvia has won a bid to host Europride 2015, with activists hoping the event will raise awareness of gay rights in the region.

The Baltic capital fought off stiff competition from cities including Barcelona, Milan and Manchester following a successful campaign by Latvian LGBT group Mozaika.

Latvian Europride is planning to emphasize EU affairs, human rights, health, support for LGBT activists, culture and sports, and entertainment. There will also be the pride march.

Previous pride festivals in Riga have been banned by authorities and campaigners hope the event in three years time will send a powerful political message.

Juris Lavrikovs, of LGBT campaign group ILGA-Europe, told Gay Star News they have ‘complete trust’ in Mozaika after they successfully organized Baltic Pride in the city in May and established good relations with the government and police.

‘Europride will be quite important in the region because of the closeness the country has to the former Soviet Union,’ Lavrikovs said.

‘It will be a great opportunity to send not only a political message but also to ensure more participation from countries which are normally not able to travel easily to other places where it is held.’

The 22nd annual Europride in Riga will coincide with Latvia’s hosting of the European Union Presidency.

Lavrikovs told GSN: ‘It’s a great opportunity to address and discuss the issues with Latvian politicians on a completely different level outside of the national discourse but using the European agenda as well.’

He added that Europride in Riga is a ‘sign of maturity’ for the gay rights movement in the region and sends a ‘strong signal’ to neighboring countries such as Russia where anti-gay ‘propaganda’ laws have been introduced to suppress LGBT freedom of expression.

The first Europride was organized in London in 1992 and in 2010, the event happened in Warsaw – the first time a former communist country has hosted the festival.

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

SWAT team chases down Oregon gay bashers

A gang of youths accused of bashing and robbing a young gay man at gun point got more than they bargained for when Oregon Police dispatched a SWAT team to the scene
No thumbnail available

Frankfurt: A vibrant gay capital where a grey city used to be

We discover the city of finance and banks has become a city of art galleries, gay clubs, paths along the river and very welcoming locals
No thumbnail available

Ugandans celebrate Pride in secret, despite anti-gay laws

As LGBTI pride was celebrated all over the world, a small group of Ugandans gathered together in secret to avoid police attention
No thumbnail available

UK government denies gay marriage will be approved 'within weeks'

Department for Culture, Media and Sport say it is 'premature' to confirm timetable for discussing equal marriage bill in parliament
No thumbnail available

Texas lawmaker wants to ban trans students from school restrooms reflecting their gender identity

Republican Rep Gilbert Pena, in office less than two months, wants schools fined $2,000 for any violations
No thumbnail available

Barbra Streisand and Larry Kramer renew war of words over The Normal Heart

Streisand: 'For the last time – I will answer his complaints, which rewrite history'
Insurance firms announce diversity workplace festival for London

Insurance firms announce diversity workplace festival for London

Gok Wan, Lord Browne and Jane Hill are among confirmed speakers for the Dive In festival
No thumbnail available

Parents leave The Joy of Gay Sex book on son's pillow

'I came out to my parents in August. This was on my pillow last night. I love you, Mom and Dad'
No thumbnail available

Equal Marriage campaign is shortlisted for Scottish Charity Awards

Equal rights campaigners are thrilled to be nominated for ‘Campaign of the Year’ and ‘People’s Choice’
No thumbnail available

Chinese lawyer calls for civil partnerships as first step towards gay marriage

A member of a group of lawyers who has petitioned Chinese lawmakers to allow same-sex marriage has suggested that civil unions might be the first step towards that goal