by Rex Wockner
Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov’s press secretary, Sergei Tsoi, said April 6 that activists planning to stage a gay pride parade May 27 are “aggressive” and “play with fire.”
The gay community’s “most aggressive members try to impose their convictions on millions of Moscow citizens who deny their lifestyle,” Tsoi told the daily newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets.
“They play with fire. That’s their aggressive nature,” he said. “If they disregard [local court rulings upholding Luzhkov’s ban on gay parades], they will assume overall responsibility for all possible consequences – and it is dreadful to predict what they may be.”
Last year’s ban led organizers to replace the first pride parade with attempts to lay flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and hold a rally across from City Hall. Participants in both small events were violently attacked by neofascists, skinheads, Christians and riot police.
Organizers have filed suit in the European Court of Human Rights over the ban, seeking a determination of their right to march and $26,000 in damages.
Speaking in London in February, at a press conference with the openly gay mayors of Berlin and Paris, Luzhkov said: “I am not going to allow the gay parade. … [T]hrough the gay parade you promote some uncertain people and it becomes an invitation to acquire this quality of the sexual minorities. [It is saying that] this is OK, that’s normal, this is useful. Our view is that it is wrong and unusual. Let the gay people do what they do, but they shouldn’t involve other citizens of our country.”
Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe responded: “Yuri! You do not become homosexual, there is no risk of propaganda. This is not a disease you catch at some point. … Some of us have brown skin, some of us have fair skin, some of us have brown eyes, some of us have blue eyes. We are born heterosexual or homosexual. And that’s it.”
At the end of the London press conference, Tsoi attacked Moscow Pride organizer Nikolai Alekseev, who also is a journalist and was standing in the front row holding a “Moscow Pride” sign.
Tsoi tried to snatch away the sign and the two men scuffled. Alekseev later filed a complaint with London police.
Meanwhile, on March 30, Tsoi’s wife, pop singer Anita Tsoi, told Moskovsky Komsomolets that she loves to sing in gay clubs and that gay people are normal.
“Among gay people, I know lots of nice and serious guys,” she said. “They have good jobs, they have normal positions in different professional domains. And they don’t look like monsters. And privacy is a personal matter.”
She also said she might attend the gay pride parade.
“If it takes place, perhaps I will,” Anita Tsoi said. “But currently, as I see, it is not very likely now. The point is, everyone has to be safe. Although I think the more brilliant, exciting and interesting life is, the more joyful it is – especially now, when life is quite dull and severe. I am lady-show and love all funny and positive things.”