Montréal, May 31, 2012 – Representatives of Montreal Pride are currently in Riga, Latvia, to attend Baltic Pride, which is being held from May 30 to June 2 in the Latvian capital. Montréal Pride president Eric Pineault will walk in the Pride march on June 2 as a Special Guest of the organizing committee, along with Thomas O. Melia, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy and Human Rights, and Ulrike Lunacek, Member of the European Parliament for Austria and Co-President of the LGBT Intergroup of the European Parliament. Montréal Pride accepted the invitation to march in the Baltic Pride as a gesture of solidarity with international LGBT communities in countries where LGBT rights are seriously threatened or even non-existent.
Montréal Pride’s ties with Baltic Pride were forged in 2010, when Montréal Pride invited Kaspars Zalitis and Kristine Garina, Latvian human rights activists and founders of “Mozaika”, the only LGBT rights organization in Latvia, to attend Montréal Pride as Grand Marshals. Their presence was a reminder that, although advances have been made in LGBT legal and social rights in Québec and in Canada, the situation remains troubling and even dangerous for many communities around the world.
Past Pride marches in Riga have met with threats and violence from the general public, a reality that was shown in disturbing clarity in Kaspar Goba’s 2010 documentary film, homo@lvin. The LGBT community and the Pride movement in Latvia face incredible hostility from the general public. At past editions of Baltic Pride, anti-gay demonstrators, many from the religious right and fascist groups, outnumbered the participants 20-to-1, throwing objects and screaming insults and threats at the peaceful marchers.
Last week, the European Parliament adopted a resolution condemning anti-gay laws in Europe. It singled out Russia, Moldova, Latvia, Lithuania and the Ukraine, saying it was “gravely concerned by developments which restrict freedom of expression and assembly on the basis of misconceptions about homosexuality and transgenderism”.
Baltic Pride is organized by the LGBTA association “Mozaika” in cooperation with the Lithuanian Gay League, Tolerant Youth Association, the Estonian Gay Youth and Amnesty International, the organization that advocates for human rights worldwide.
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M. Éric Pineault, President
Cell. : 514 616-7170
Me Jean-Sébastien Boudreault, Vice President
Cell. (514) 924-0229
About Montréal Pride
Montréal Pride was formed and legally founded under the name Célébrations LGBTA Montréal in 2007 as an initiative of Montréal’s LGBT community, following Divers/Cité’s decision, in May 2007, to cease the organization of the Pride Parade and Community Day. Montréal Pride is a community-driven, not-for-profit organization overseen by a Board of Directors consisting of members of the business community, local LGBTA associations as well as representatives from the event-planning and tourism industries.