A tiny village in Russia was set to host the nation’s first officially approved LGBTQ Pride parade – but now local authorities have withdrawn permission.
The event was scheduled to take place August 26 in a village called Yablonevy, which has only seven residents, Radio Free Europe reports. It is located on the outskirts of Novoulyanovsk, a larger, industrial town along the Volga River in eastern Russia.
The government of Novoulyanovsk has jurisdiction over the village, and Novoulyanovsk Mayor Svetlana Kosarinova had approved the Pride parade, which activists originally wanted to hold in the city center, but she chose the outlying village as the location “in order to avoid conflicts and a possible violation of the Russian law,” as she wrote in a letter to organizers. But the city manager this week overrode her decision, saying it was invalid because she did not consult him or the City Council.
“I made a decision, there will be no gay parade,” the city manager, Gennady Denikayev, said Thursday, according to Radio Free Europe. “We intend to protect traditional family values and, foremost, our children from the propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations.”
That “propaganda” is exactly what is banned by a 2013 Russian law, essentially prohibiting any positive mention of LGBTQ rights or identity in venues accessible to minors.
There have been attempts to hold Pride events in major Russian cities. There was a “rogue” Pride rally – not approved by authorities – in St. Petersburg last year, and unauthorized parades have been held in Moscow. The Moscow city government in 2012 issued a ban on Pride parades for the next hundred years.