5th Annual International Queer pride festival Queer Fest 2013 opened despite provocations

The 5th annual International Queer Pride festival Queer Fest 2013 opened on Thursday in St. Petersburg. The opening was a success, with over 150 visitors, despite attempts by the author of St. Petersburg "propaganda" law Vitaly Milonov and his friends to foil the event.

150 visitors crowded the art gallery "Nesuschestvuyuschij Etazh" (The Non-Existent Floor) in St. Petersburg for the opening of the 5th International Queer Festival, to celebrate together the pride, rights, and lives of LGBT people in Russia.

Over 150 visitors included members of a wide variety of civil society and human rights organization of St. Petersburg, such as the Human Rights Council of St. Petersburg, Anti-dicsrimination Center "Memorial", Russian LGBT Network, Side by Side LGBT film festival, Straights Alliance for LGBT Equality and others, and representatives of Swedish, Danish, Finnish cultural institutes and several diplomatic missions of European countries and the US.

Many warm words were said about the continuing the struggle for human rights and the importance of collaboration. Visitors also enjoyed the photo exhibition dedicated to the Russian LGBT history throughout the 20th century.

In the meanwhile, at the entrance to the building, the visitors were met with the now world-infamous author of the St. Petersburg "propaganda of lesbianism, sodomy, bisexuality, and transgenderism" law, United Russia city parliament deputy Vitaly Milonov and the leader of the "People's Council" ("Narodny sobor") of St. Petersburg. Milonov, together with 5-6 of his companions, verbally insulted the guests, calling them "un-Russian", "faggots", and "animals". One of the visitors was physically attacked and hit in the face, but no major injuries were incurred.

In the middle of the ceremony, the police arrived, but finding no cause for action and everything in order, the police left the event.

Queer Fest offers 9 more days of events, ranging from seminars and discussions on LGBT police or proud parents in Sweden and Russia, feminism and the Russian LGBT movement, history of pride events, to musical concerts, art workshops, and much more. Queer Fest's special guests will be the Swedish rock band GRAVITONAS with its lead singer Alexander Bard, well-known in Russia for his projects Army of Lovers and Vacuum.

Detailed program can be found here: http://queerfest.ru/en/program.html
Queer Fest 2012 video: http://queerfest.ru/vazhno.php

Follow festival's events online: http://queerfest.ru/en/on-line.html

Opening Ceremony, photo by Anna Milokumova

Opening Ceremony, photo by July Sun

Informational materials: "What is happening with my child?", "LGBT parents", "Myths and facts about LGB". Photo by Olga Wagina

Photo by Olga Wagina

Photo by Olga Wagina

Photo by Victor Chumakov

Photo by Victor Chumakov

Photo by Victor Chumakov

Photo by Victor Chumakov

Photo by Victor Chumakov

Vitaly Milonov

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ARCHIVE of the Festival

   Archive of the Festival 2009 г.
   Archive of the Festival 2010 г.
   Archive of the Festival 2011 г.
   Archive of the Festival 2012 г.