QUEER FEST 2012, St. Petersburg – Arta de a fi tu însuţi – Un festival internaţional de cultură şi artă queer
Homophobic law of St. Petersburg
In March 2012 St. Petersburg adopted law on „homosexual propaganda”. The term „propaganda” is not defined, so almost any information about the nature of homosexuality and transgender among minors can be made illegal. The law is illiterate from a legal and scientific point of view, and discriminatory:
– It reinforces homophobia and transphobia and promote aggression against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and other minority groups of the society;
– It violates the right to freedom of speech, the right to seek, receive, transfer, produce and share information, the right of expression guaranteed by the Russian Constitution and international law;
– It denies the modern scientific knowledge in the field of psychology, sexology, sociology, and is based on the groundless assumption that information on homosexuality is harmful to minors;
– It makes it impossible to provide the necessary psychological help for adolescents and to prevent homophobic bullying in schools and other educational institutions;
– It denies adolescents the right to receive adequate scientific information about sexuality and gender.
Queerfest 2012 became the first big LGBT rights event of St. Petersburg after the scandalous “homosexual propaganda” law was passed. We received many refusals from venues and participants based on the fear that the festival would be banned.
Despite this, for the first time the festival was supported by the Ombudsperson of Saint Petersburg Alexander Shishlov. In his letter, he expressed hope that „QueerFest would become another step in the development of tolerance and mutual understanding between people regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity.”
Besides Russian celebrities and officials, QueerFest was supported by ministers from Europe who came to the Council of Europe Conference of Youth Ministers. Some of them not only raised the issue of discrimination of LGBT in plenary sessions, but supported QueerFest with their participation.
Pascal Smet, Flemish Minister for youth, education, and equal opportunities, opened the seminar on transgender issues, underlining the importance of providing information for LGBT teens in the difficult process of discovering their identity.
Nyamko Sabuni, Swedish Minister for integration and gender equality, opened the exhibition „Article 1” of the history of the LGBT movement.
QueerFest was visited by over 1500 people. During the 10 days of the festival , guests and residents of St. Petersburg visited and took part in presentations, discussions about the life of those behind the abbreviation LGBT, and workshops on social exclusion of LGBT people, discrimination, human rights and freedom.
QueerFest was organized by the LGBT organization “Coming Out” with the support of the Swedish human rights organization Civil Rights Defenders.