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International News by Rex Wockner

By |2007-07-19T09:00:00-04:00July 19th, 2007|News|
Anti-gays attack Budapest, Zagreb pride parades

Budapest Pride got fag-bashed July 7.

Hundreds of skinheads, neo-Nazis and other thugs threw eggs, bottles, smoke bombs, Molotov cocktails and plastic bags of sand at the 2,000 marchers. They also pelted police with beer bottles and physically attacked several marchers.

One truck in the parade reportedly caught fire when a Molotov cocktail landed on it.

The counterdemonstrators shouted, “Faggots into the Danube, followed by the Jews,” “Soap factory” and “Filthy faggots.”

Dozens more pride attendees reportedly were attacked in the vicinity of the post-parade party at the open-air, riverside Buddha Beach nightclub, the parade’s endpoint.

Eight counterdemonstrators were arrested, and police said they continue to search for others.

In a July 10 statement, several Hungarian gay groups called on the national government “to investigate the case instead of covering up why the police did not protect the marchers and why calls for help in the course of the night were refused.”

The police “did not step in between the two demonstrations or form a wall,” said marcher Gabor Kuszing from Patent – People Against Patriarchy. “Where I was walking, I could see no police officers in sight. If I was not injured it is not because the police were there, but because no counterdemonstrator decided throw a bottle at me.”

The post-parade party “was under [police] blockade for hours until some of the counterdemonstrators left,” said a Patent press release. “The police also left despite reports that groups of counterdemonstrators remained in the parks and streets around the party. … The police did not patrol in the area and did not react to emergency calls.”

Parade opponents included members of Movement for a Better Hungary and the Hungarian National Front, who said they were annoyed that the Hungarian Socialists, part of the ruling government coalition, have come out in support of legalizing same-sex marriage, and that Gabor Szetey, the government’s human resources secretary of state, publicly came out July 5 as he opened Budapest’s 12th Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Festival of culture and arts.

In his coming-out speech, Szetey, 38, said: “I am Gabor Szetey. I am European and Hungarian. I believe in God, love, freedom and equality. I am the HR secretary of state of the government of the Hungarian Republic. Economist, HR director. Partner, friend, sometimes rival. And gay. Like you. Like hundreds of thousands of people in this country who I hope hear these words. Wow. I did it. I said it out loud.

“And I will say it out loud every time it is needed to be said, so that others may say it. And then gay pride will be what we made it to be. And Hungary, my homeland, will be as much as can be. … We have to say it out loud — me, you, all of us. With pride, with power, with faith, with true belief. Or softly, just as one fact of life, happily and peacefully. For me that is what gay pride day is all about. And the other 364 days of the year, every day of every year from now on. …

“It is not your choice whether you are gay or not, but it is your choice to accept it,” Szetey said. “I know already that not accepting who we really are leads to hiding, lying throughout our lives, and to consequences which are hard to predict. I believe in truth and I am sick and tired of lies. … I believe that we can and we have to break the culture of silence. I have to say out loud who am I, so that finally my own decisions direct my destiny. We have to say it out loud so that we take control of our lives. So that we can be what we are meant to be. … So that we don’t have to live two different lives. One public life and one secret life. So that we don’t need to use coded language to talk about the most important things in our lives. About our partners, about our family. So that we can be proud of who we are. Simply, softly, easily. I am gay. And I am happy. And I am proud to be here with you tonight.”

The festival opening was attended by Klara Dobrev, wife of the prime minister, Health Minister Agnes Horvath and Economy Minister Janos Koka (who are engaged to each other), Environment Minister Gabor Fodor, government spokesman David Daroczi, and the leader and assistant leader of the parliamentary faction of the Alliance of Free Democrats/Hungarian Liberal Party, Matyas Eoersi and Peter Gusztos.

Meanwhile, the sixth gay pride parade in Zagreb, Croatia, held the same day, came under similar attack.

Around 40 of the 300 marchers were assaulted in numerous incidents after the parade ended. At least 12 sustained minor injuries and two others required medical treatment.

Some 13 anti-gay demonstrators were arrested, several of whom were found to be carrying Molotov cocktails or tear gas. One of them has been charged with a hate crime for attempting to throw one of the cocktails — the first hate crime charge in Croatia’s history.

The marchers were jeered and spat on by right-wing youths throughout the parade route. A solid line of police in riot gear marched along on both sides of the parade.

In central Ban Jelacic Square, organizers read a proclamation demanding, among other things, the right to full public visibility; official condemnation of all forms of homophobia, discrimination and violence against “LGBTIQ” persons; and the introduction of an anti-homophobia program in educational and other institutions.

Marchers included the head of the Government Office for Gender Equality, Helena Stimac Radin; the ombudswoman for gender equality, Gordana Lukac Koritnik; Croatian People’s Party leader Vesna Pusic; and Italian Sen. Gianpaolo Silvestri.

Tiny turnout for Malta pride, closet blamed

Gay pride in Valletta, capital of Malta, attracted only about 50 people July 6, fewer than at the first march four years ago.

Marchers included British Member of the European Parliament David Bowles, Education Minister Louis Galea, Labour MP Evarist Bartolo and Alternattiva Demokratika party chairman Harry Vassallo.

Malta Gay Rights Movement coordinator Gabriella Calleja told the Times of Malta newspaper that Maltese GLBT people are afraid to come out publicly.

“At the recent pride party there were about 1,000 people or more but here, given the cameras and journalists and in broad daylight, it’s a different story,” she said.

Hundreds march in Lima

Hundreds of GLBT people marched in the sixth annual gay pride parade in Lima, Peru, July 7.

Marchers demanded passage of the “Law of Equal Opportunities between Men and Women” and urged that the measure include protections for lesbians.

Organizers also condemned anti-gay violence, claiming that Peru saw 600 anti-gay attacks in 2006 and that many of them were carried out by police officers.

Majority of Israeli Hebrew-speaking Jews would accept gay child

Seventy-three percent of Hebrew-speaking Jews living in Israel would accept a gay child, a Ynet-Gesher/Mutagim poll has found.

Of those, 43 percent would feel bad about the situation but accept the child and his or her partner anyway, while 30 percent would “have no problem with it.”

Of the remaining 27 percent of respondents, 15 percent would be very angry with the gay child and would maintain only minimal contact, and the final 12 percent would end all contact.

Women polled more gay-friendly than men, 79 percent to 66 percent. Haredim (ultra-Orthodox Jews) polled the most anti-gay; 55 percent would fully cut off their child.

Pollsters also asked a question about “problematic” neighbors. Twelve percent would not want to live next to a gay couple, 13 percent don’t want Christian neighbors, 18 percent would prefer not to live next to a haredi family, and 38 percent don’t want a noisy musical family next door.

Austrian gay leader acquitted of libel

Austria’s leading gay organization, Homosexual Initiative Vienna (HOSI Wien), and its secretary general, Kurt Krickler, saw their conviction for defamation and libel overturned by the Vienna Regional Criminal Court on July 9.

Austrian People’s Party Member of Parliament Walter Tancsits sought legal relief after Krickler called him a “mental descendant of the brown Nazi myrmidons” (“geistiger Nachfahre der braunen Nazi-Schergen”) in a press release about Tancsits’ engineering the exclusion of gays from the Nazi Victim Compensation Act.

A lower court convicted Krickler in April 2006, sentencing him to three years’ probation and the choice of a suspended fine of 240 euros (US$329) or a suspended sentence of one month in jail. Under the terms of the conviction, if Krickler did not commit another crime during the probationary period, he would not have had to pay the fine or serve time. HOSI was ordered to pay Tancsits 1,500 euros.

But the appeals court decided Krickler’s denunciation of Tancsits fell into the realm of expressing an opinion, which is allowable, rather than stating as fact something that is untrue, which can be libelous.

Krickler called the acquittal a “great victory for freedom of speech and human rights in Austria” and noted that Tancsits “has to pay now all legal costs of both parties.”

Lesbian couple killed in South Africa

According to activist groups, a Johannesburg lesbian couple was murdered “execution style” July 8 and their bodies were found in a field in Meadowlands township.

Sizakele Sigasa, 34, and Salome Masooa, 23, were shot multiple times each and there was evidence they may have been sexually assaulted.

A South African Broadcasting Corporation report said: “They were found … raped, tortured, murdered and dumped. [Sigasa] was found with her hands tied with her underwear and ankles tied with her shoelaces.”

The couple reportedly had left a gay party around midnight to drive a friend home, then failed to return to the party as expected.

Activist groups said they suspect the killings were an anti-lesbian hate crime, but police told the SABC they’ve not yet found any evidence to that effect.

A memorial service for the two women was held July 12.

About the Author:

BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.