1000's of revelers parade for gay pride in Europe
June 28, 2004
BERLIN — Hundreds of thousands of revelers wearing everything from full
Victorian garb and designer gowns to skimpy leather and
construction hats celebrated gay pride in cities around the world
Participants of the Christopher Street Day dance on the streets of Berlin |
Photo - AFP
Berlin saw one of Europe's largest parades. To the sound of
thumping techno music, the city's openly gay Mayor Klaus Wowereit
led floats in the 12th annual celebration of Christopher Street
Day, commemorating the start of the gay rights movement in New
York's Greenwich Village in 1969.
Police estimated that about 200,000 people snaked their way from
the chic Kurfuerstendamm boulevard to the landmark Victory Column,
while organizers said the crowd swelled beyond 500,000.
Wowereit told the cheering crowd that while the parade was "fun
and colorful," the gay community still was marginalized.
"We must fight against that," he said.
Parents led the way in Mexico City as thousands marched to
celebrate gay pride and promote tolerance.
With dance music blasting from floats carrying mostly young men,
the march stretched across four lanes of traffic and measured about
10 city blocks as it wound from the Angel of Independence monument
to Mexico City's central plaza.
"We have to keep up the fight, the peaceful fight" for
homosexuals' rights, said Jorge Sanchez, 45, of Mexico City, whose
T-shirt declared, "I love my gay son."
Sanchez, who led the parade in a vehicle with other parents,
said his 23-year-old son announced his homosexuality in December.
"I'm hear to demonstrate my love and support for him as a
person," Sanchez said.
Fashion designer Alberto Gonzalez, 23, traveled 410 miles (660
kilometers) from Villahermosa to Mexico City, where a male model
showed off a Gonzalez gown based on Mayan Indian motifs.
The designer said he made the trip not only as a gay activist
but also as an artist. "It fills me with pride to see that people
like my work," he said.
Canada's largest gay and lesbian pride celebration – a weeklong
festival in Toronto that started June 21 – continued Saturday with
petitions calling for protection of same-sex marriage rights, an
issue in Monday*s national election.
Activists fear if Conservatives win control of the government
from the Liberal Party, they would overrule decisions last year by
courts in Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec allowing gay couples
"The fact this is still a contentious issue, I think, speaks
even more loudly about how important Pride as a festival really
is," said Ayse Turak, co-chair of festival organizer Pride Toronto.
Sunday's annual Pride Parade, expected to attract about 1
million spectators and participants, concludes the festival.
In Paris, the gay pride march had a similar political tone,
coming three weeks after the mayor of Begles, near Bordeaux,
celebrated the first homosexual marriage in France and was
suspended for a month for defying authorities.
Conservative President Jacques Chirac has asked for dialogue on
the subject, and a bill condemning discriminatory words of a sexist
or homophobic nature has been proposed. But many of the 90 groups
backing Saturday's march consider it insufficient.
Under the slogan "Enough Hypocrisy, Equality Now," thousands
marched with 60 floats from a Left Bank square to the Bastille and
across the Seine River, led by Paris' openly gay Mayor Bertrand
A gay pride parade planned earlier this month in Warsaw, Poland,
was banned by Mayor Lech Kaczynski, who said he feared clashes with
opponents planning their own demonstration.
Poland's Gay and
Lesbian Association failed in attempts to have provincial
authorities overturn the ban, and Berlin's marchers pledged to
support them in trying to parade again next year.
"The ban on demonstrating for lesbians and gays is an
infringement on basic rights," said Volker Beck, a lawmaker in
Germany's Greens party. "That is in no way acceptable." – Sapa-AP
Europride draws 360,000 to Germany [14/06/2004]