The Brighton Beach Gay Pride March marked the first Russian-speaking pride march in the United States.
The Russian LGBT community united today on Saturday May 20th, 2017 for the first ever Brighton Beach pride march on the boardwalk in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, New York.
With signs in Russian and English, the marchers called for an end to anti-LGBT discrimination in Russian-speaking communities and equal rights for all.
“This is a historic day for the Russian-American LGBT community,” Eugene Resnick who attended the Brighton Beach Pride Parade told OutBuzz. “As a gay man who was born in Moscow, but grew up in Brooklyn, it is important that we stand up and oppose homophobia both here in the Russian-speaking community and also that of the former Soviet Union countries. This was both a parade and a protest to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Russia and other post Soviet countries who face violence, discrimination, and active repression from governments.”
Although New York has welcomed newcomers fleeing the repression of the Soviet Union and subsequent post-Soviet countries, Russian-speaking LGBT people have not been widely accepted.
“Unfortunately, Brighton Beach and other neighborhoods attracting Russian-speaking émigrés remain very homophobic and transphobic,” said Lyosha Gorshkov, co-president of RUSA LGBT. “Every day, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex individuals face discrimination in their homes, workplaces and medical facilities. Many of our members even encounter physical and verbal abuse.”
Trump’s immigration policies coupled with Russian anti-LGBT laws and state-sponsored anti-gay violence in Chechnya have fueled the cause of the Brighton Beach Pride March.
Many LGBT people from post-Soviet countries have sought to immigrate or seek asylum in the United States in order to escape persecution, and anti-immigrant policies and rhetoric threaten their safety. This has not been easy with new tougher immigration laws under the Trump administration.
State-sponsored violence against Gays in Chechnya has been an especially important concern. The US has reportedly denied visas to Gay Chechens trying to flee the torture and murder of LGBT people. RUSA LGBT, the organizers of the Brighton Beach Pride march, demand that the U.S. State Department issue humanitarian visas to LGBTQ people fleeing brutal persecution in Chechnya.
In addition, RUSA LGBT asks the international community to remain vocal about human rights violations in Chechnya. They are advocating that the Trump administration strongly condemn the persecution of Chechen queer people and request that Russian authorities investigate the crimes.
More pictures from Brighton Beach Gay Pride 2017