Gay activists are tackling homophobia in Ukraine during Euro 2012 by providing rainbow wristbands and a safe space for gay soccer fans.
The European Gay and Lesbian Sports Federation (EGLSF) has teamed up with the Pride Solidarity Campaign to promote the two new campaigns to run throughout the period of the European Football Championship being hosted in Poland and Ukraine from today (8 June).
As an expansion to the ‘Euro Pride House’ that EGLSF are opening in Warsaw, Poland, they are now launching ‘YOUR Euro Pride House’ to enable LGBT people in Ukraine to hold their own Euro Pride Houses in environments in which they feel safe.
They are also asking lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender soccer fans in all European countries to open their own Pride Houses, where fans who are not travelling to the matches can still engage with LGBT issues in Eastern Europe and be a part of the Pride House experience.
And they will be providing rainbow wristbands for their other campaign ‘Wear a Rainbow at Euro 2012’.
In a joint press release they said, ‘Anyone interested in challenging the violence perpetrated against LGBT in Europe can wear a silicone rainbow wristband to show support. Wristbands will be available at Euro Pride House in Warsaw and from various venues in Ukraine and those not in Ukraine and Poland can join in with this simple act of solidarity.’
Last month, Gay Star News reported the homophobic attack on Svyatoslav Sheremet, head of the Gay Forum of Ukraine, after fear of violence from far-right thugs forced the cancellation of Kiev’s first gay pride parade. The incident sparked concern about violence in the country during Euro 2012.
Due to safety fears Amnesty International to advise LGBT fans and ethnic minorities against travelling to Ukraine.
Yesterday, digital gay activism group AllOut delivered a message to Angela Merkel, asking her to join French president FranÃ§ois Hollande in refusing to attend the games.
But EGLSF and the Pride Solidarity Campaign are taking a different tack in the face of these boycotts.
A Gay Star News straw poll asking, ‘Do boycotts of homophobic countries work?’ shows only 7% of site visitors thought they always worked, 15% thought they often worked, 41% said they sometimes worked and 37% believed they never worked.