Monday, June 25, 2007

Aug 4 = Global Gay Solidarity Day in Six Cities, Organizers Needed

After discussions with several activists in many countries and cities about organizing an international same-day coordinated action this summer, activists in five other cities have stepped forward to join with gay Swedes on August 4 in solidarity marches.
August 4 is when Stockholm stages its annual gay Pride parade and celebration, and on that Saturday members of Tupilak, a gay and lesbian cultural workers collective, will march on foreign embassies in solidarity with LGBT people everywhere.
Here is the list of cities and contacts for August 4:
1. Mexico City, Mexico; Lars Ivar Owesen-Lein Borge, ; [+52] (155) 5547 2276

2. New York, NY; USA; Brendan Fay, ; 1-718-721-2780
3. San Diego, CA; USA; Michael Mussman,
4. San Francisco, CA; USA; Michael Petrelis, ; 1-415-621-6267
5. Stockholm, Sweden; Bill Schiller, ; 46-8-784 7240
6. Washington, DC; USA; Lane Hudson, ; Rick Rosendall,
Each city will decide how it will stand in solidarity on August 4 with LGBT people across the planet, what sort of action will be organized and where it will be held, along with a theme related to protecting the human rights of all gays.
Depending on a given country's gay human rights record, some vigils will demand respect for gays and other actions will offer public thanks for advancements.
Some cities like New York, San Francisco and Stockholm will march on a few embassies and consulates; while in Washington activists will hold a speak out at the South African embassy to praise that country's great leaps forward for LGBT equality.
Activists in other cities and towns are asked to volunteer to participate in the August 4 international day of LGBT solidarity.
If you live in a location with foreign embassies or consulates, please consider organizing an event there on August 4.
And if you reside in a city lacking foreign government offices, you can still participate in the international August 4 solidarity actions by organizing a vigil or speak out in your local gay neighborhood or community center.
These are messages of support from Lars in Mexico and Bill in Sweden that I hope will motivate you and your friends to mobilize for August 4, which is about six weeks from today, leaving plenty of time to organize, organize, organize for global gay solidarity.
From our friend and lead organizer in Mexico City:
As we have expressed before, in Mexico City, we are very much in favour of 4 August as the International Day of Solidarity. What we want to do here, is to organise a large outdoor community event on Saturday in the heart of our pink neighbourhood during the day with many different activities, artistic events and information stands by different groups and organisations.

During the month of July the participating organisations, will collect signatures via their webpages, and on 4 August, we will collect signatures all day long in the actual event.
Then, on Monday after the event, the committee (which now has representatives from 10 different organisations in Mexico City) will go to the Embassy and deliver our letter.
Here in Mexico City we now have a web site for our 4 August event as well as a new banner in the front page of Enkidu Magazine which takes you to the new page, which still is under development. More information will be added in the next days.

We had an emotional, but very productive and interesting debate here about how to call the event, and we have ended up with this title in Spanish for the event in Mexico City: Dia de Solidaridad Global de las Diversidades.

Mexico has an overwhelming cultural diversity, and many ethnic and cultural communities in Mexico have various traditional gender and sexual identities, which cannot be easily fit into the label LGBTTTQ. The most well-known example are the Muxe in Oaxaca in the south of Mexico, where local Muxe activists often have felt intimidated and threatened by westernised urban middle class activists who have attempted to integrate them into one of the trans-categories.
Many Mexican regions also have several categories of homosexual men with traditional identities in their communities that reject being labelled as "gay" because this is an imported and alienating term that for them refers to the shining westernised gay subcultures of the big cities and not to anything related to their realities.

I think that we all share the hope that the Global Solidarity Day will develop into something really global, which hopefully in the future also will be celebrated in places like India, the Middle East or Africa with multitudes of traditional sexual and gender identities that may not fit into any of the Western LGBTTTQ categories, but should definitely feel included here.
Therefore, we wanted to share this reflection with you, and tell you why we will promote this day in Mexico as "Global Diversities Solidarity Day" rather than Gay Solidarity Day or LGBT Solidarity Day this year.

If anyone has any thoughts about these issues, please let us know. Our discussion here will certainly continue since we also consider it important that this day, being a Global initiative, also has a global identity and more or less the same name in all languages, so we definitely appreciate global input on this.

Best wishes
And this message is from our good buddy and chief organizer in Sweden:
Dear Mikael and colleagues!

Thanks for the flood of e-mails concerning August 4 as a day of international rainbow solidarity! Great to see new cities and new ideas jumping onto to the list!

I think the planned salute to South Africa is a smashing idea -- a healthy balance of praise and outrage -- showing what has to be done and what is being accomplished!

Would only like to comment that from our Nordic/Baltic perspective, the reluctant decisions to finally give green lights to pride parades in Poland and Latvia are very new -- with enormous homophobic forces trying to turn back the clocks -- so a "well done" message to Polish and Latvia consulates and embassies could be good "pats on the back" for those progressive elements facing much resistance at home.

If you're making placards or signs naming countries, of course Russia should be high on the list after this year's renewed anti-pride violence. And Belarus (White Russia) -- the last dicatorship of Eastern Europe -- where rainbows are in chains and where prides and international rainbow gatherings unthinkable.

We also urge you to put Lithuania on your list if you can. Their request last month to unfurl a big, rainbow flag in a downtown square in Vilnius during their first "Rainbow Days" in Vilnius was rejected by the city authorities for "security and moral reasons." Lithuania also then became the first European Union member to ban a travelling EU information bus handing out leaflets against discrimination because it included rainbow rights. "No Pride" religious fanatics and other homophobes were allowed to demonstrate in Vilnius against a pride event that never took place! Our colleagues in Vilnius could really use an international boost and a cheer from somewhere like Mexico City or San Francisco!

The list of "candidates" is long. But every nation mentioned on August 4 of course also stands for those next door or on the other side of the globe.

Proud to be with such an international crowd who cares.

Bill Schiller, for the International Lesbian & Gay Cultural Network Information Secretariat in Stockholm

1 comment:

PandemicSoul said...

This is the first time I've heard of this. How long has this been in planning?