LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

Tell us your Pride story during 2018 Pride season!

community organising
Pride events

Daina Rudusa, ILGA-Europe Advocacy and Programmes Officer 

This weekend, LGBTI people in Tirana will jump on their bikes to take part in the annual (P)Ride march, or, rather, ride, and come together in an affirmation of their existence and call for their human rights.

The week after, Brussels will erupt in rainbow colours and thousands will march, dance, and sing in celebration of diversity, individuality and human rights on 19 May.

At the beginning of June, Warsaw, Riga, and Sofia will simultaneously march in protest, celebration, solidarity, in the face of increasingly shrinking space for civil society and ever stronger anti gender movements putting at risk the hard fought wins in the human rights of LGBTI people achieved in the last decade or so.

And that’s just a tiny snapshot of the community organising going on right now all over Europe.

You got it. Prides season is upon us.  

Pride marches, and the concept of Pride (historically in response to the shaming LGBTI people experienced from society) has been an absolutely crucial element of the LGBTI movement since the 1960s and 1970s and the very first marches. Today, Pride events take place all over the world, taking many shapes, sizes, formats.  

Throughout the Pride season ILGA-Europe will bring you a series of blogs, showing the diversity of Prides throughout Europe.

The successes, and challenges, the threats, and opportunities. And we urge you to go along to your local Pride and see for yourself, and to stand in solidarity with others. A gesture which is becoming ever more important in times of increasing populism and divisiveness in societies across the world.

Historically prides were a spring board for a wider LGBTI movement. Later they became a litmus test for democracies - governments allowing Prides to take place passed a symbolic test.

In many countries, Pride marches are demonstrations affirming the existence of LGBTI people and calling for equal rights; in other places, they are a celebration of the achievements to date. They can be an important reminder of diversity at home - and an important statement of solidarity with LGBTI people elsewhere. They are places where the movement gathers en masse, where we can garner support to strengthen our communities; address issues within the movement and build relationships with allies.

Due to the ever increasing pressures, the symbolism and importance has, arguably, grown. Prides are a vehicle for the movement in addressing a variety of political/legal/community issues, as well as for mobilising.

In recent years, in the context of shrinking space, populist discourse combined with anti-western and anti-gender agendas, prides have come under strong attack even in places with a rich history of LGBTI activism. Under the guise of terror threat, inability to protect, or protection of traditional values, Pride marches have seen restrictions, ranging from route changes to outright bans, across Europe. 

What is Pride? Pride is so much. Pride is democracy. Pride is diversity. Pride is community; solidarity; resistance. Pride was, and is, taking the streets. Pride is celebration. Pride is protest. Pride is for you, and me, and everyone, because it speaks to a far bigger picture, one of the levels or tolerance, diversity, democracy and human rights within a society. And because of that, it is so important to keep going, to keep marching, protesting and, eventually, celebrating.

That’s why ILGA-Europe want to hear from you:

  • Blog about it: If you have a Pride story to share, if there’s a burning issue on your mind this Pride season as an organiser, or if you have attended a memorable Pride and want to write about it, ILGA-Europe are accepting blog submissions.

  • Be part of it: If you can go along to your local Pride to protest or celebrate in person – great! If you can’t make it to a Pride, perhaps share a message of support with the communities on social media?

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