Tag Archives: parade

Police in Istanbul use tear gas on gay activists

Police in Istanbul used tear gas and detained activists who gathered on June 26 to issue a statement to mark gay Pride week after authorities banned their rally in the city. At least 19 activists were rounded up, organizers said.

Dozens of activists assembled on Istanbul’s main pedestrian street to publicly read a statement marking the end of the LGBT Pride week and to denounce the ban. Several of them were detained however, before they could speak. Turkish police later used tear gas and rubber pellets to chase activists from side streets.

Istanbul’s governor banned both last week’s Trans Pride March and the broader LGBT Pride parade, citing security concerns in the city, which has been hit by deadly attacks by Islamic State militants or Kurdish rebels.

Turkish Islamist and ultra-nationalist groups had also threatened counter-demonstrations to stop the gay rights rallies.

Activists believe authorities are using security as an excuse to ban the gay parades. They say the government they should be taking measures to deal with the threats instead.

Two European legislators were also briefly detained Sunday, activists said. They included prominent Green Party lawmaker Volker Beck — an outspoken activist for gay rights — who was detained when he wanted to speak at the event in Istanbul.

The German news agency dpa quoted Beck as saying: “The police tore away my passport and pushed me around.”

Last week, Turkish police also used tear gas and rubber bullets to break up demonstrators who gathered for the transgender parade in defiance of the ban.

LGBT group marches for first time in New York’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade

“I never thought I’d see the day when I could march up Fifth Avenue in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade with my husband,” Brendan Fay, chairman of New York’s Lavender and Green Alliance told The Associated Press.

For the first time ever, his group marched out and proud today in New York’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the oldest and largest such event in the nation. Along with the standard tartans, pipes and drums marching down the green line on Fifth Avenue, this year’s parade featured an LGBT group of marchers waving gay flags as they celebrated their Irish heritage.

“When we started in 1991, after getting arrested so many times for protesting the parade, wow, what a moment this is,” Fay said.

For years, organizers said gay people could participate but couldn’t carry signs or buttons celebrating their sexual identities. Organizers said they didn’t want to divert focus from honoring Irish heritage

Fay and other gay Irish New Yorkers sued the parade in the early 1990s for excluding them. But judges ruled for the parade organizers, saying they had a First Amendment right to choose participants in their event.

Over the years, activists protested along the parade route. A growing number of politicians boycotted the event. The struggle reached a crisis point in 2014, when Mayor Bill de Blasio refused to march, and Guinness and Heineken withdrew their sponsorships.

Last year, the parade’s organizers opened the door to gay groups slightly, allowing a gay contingent to march with event sponsor NBCUniversal. LGBT people and their allies dismissed the gesture as tokenism.

Meanwhile, Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day parade organizers ended their ban on gay groups, despite a Supreme Court decision giving them the right to exclude LGBT contingents.

In the months that followed, the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage and voters in Ireland approved marriage equality there as well.

Faced with such dramatic social changes, New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade organizers said they’d add a second gay group this year — the Lavender and Green Alliance.

“Today everyone is celebrating together. Today, the city is at peace, and the city is unified, and we all feel tremendous pride in all of the people who brought us together,” De Blasio said.

He actually marched twice, first with a contingent representing the NYPD and New York fire fighters. He returned at the end of the parade to join the Lavender and Green Alliance.

When the contingent entered Fifth Avenue from its staging area, cheer erupted from the crowd of onlookers.

Of course, not everyone was delighted.

“It’s contemptible,” said Bill Donohue of the Catholic League. His unofficial group of Roman Catholic fundamentalists stopped marching last year, to protest the presence of the NBCUniversal gay group. He said it was unfair of organizers to open the parade to a gay group but not to an anti-abortion one.

Some Catholics gathered along the route today to pray in protest.

But Dillon Roger, visiting from Switzerland, thought the parade was “like a big carnival” and hadn’t realized gay groups were kept from marching until recently.

“I always thought the parade was a celebration of being Irish, not Catholic, so yes, it’s a big symbol, an important thing for gays to march in the parade today,” he said.

Reporting in this article is by AP writer Jennifer Peltz.




Trudeau to become first Canadian PM to march in LGBT Pride parade

Justin Trudeau will become the first Canadian prime minister to participate in Toronto’s annual LGBT Pride march.

Organizers on Tuesday said Trudeau will march in the parade on July 3.

Trudeau tweeted: “Very much look forward to being there again, this time as PM.”

Organizers also have said gay Syrian refugees will have a place at the events.

Trudeau has made equality a big part of his government since being elected in October. Women make up half of the Cabinet. Asked last year why gender balance is important, Trudeau said: “Because it’s 2015.”

Madison Pride parade and rally on Aug. 9

Madison celebrates LGBT pride with a parade on State Street and around the state Capitol on Aug. 9. 

“It should be a really fun time, and we think we’re going to have an even bigger parade this year,” said Steve Starkey, executive director of the Madison-based OutReach LGBT Community Center, which is organizing the event. More than 2,000 marched in 2014.

“It’s been awhile since we’ve done it on State Street,” he added.

Plans are still coming together, but the Madison Police and Fire departments may participate, as well as a variety of floats and the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile.

“At noon, people with floats will convene in the 500 and 600 block of State and, at 1 p.m., we will kick off and march up to the Capitol Square,” Starkey said. “We’ll circle the square and, when we get back to the top of State Street, we will stop. And then there will be a rally on the Capitol steps.”

The grand marshal of the parade is Christina Kahrl, Chicago ESPN Sports reporter and a board member of Equality Illinois.

The rally’s master of ceremonies will be former state Rep. David Clarenbach.

While serving in the Wisconsin Assembly in 1982, Clarenbach wrote and helped pass the nation’s first law prohibiting discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations on the basis of sexual orientation.

The theme of this year’s parade and rally is, “The ‘T’ is not silent. Respect transgender lives!”

“Now that marriage equality has been achieved — even though there’s still a lot of opponents and it’s still probably an uphill battle to get married in a lot of places — we feel like transgender rights is the really important next step in terms of gaining acceptance,” Starkey said. “In the LGBT umbrella, they’re still the least accepted and the most oppressed of the LGBT — the most at risk.”

OutReach does a lot of work with the Madison Transgender Association. “We realized that our transgender clients suffer the most depression,” Starkey said. “They’re harassed on the buses, they’re harassed on the street. They often get fired from jobs. Unemployment in that community is very high. Suicide is much higher than in the general population.”

The first Madison Pride Parade took place in 1989. It’s been held nearly every year since. Care was taken to avoid scheduling the parade during similar events in other cities, so that as many people as possible could participate. 

All are welcome to join the parade.

“Most people (who) march will march with a particular contingent, but I think a lot of times the contingents are happy to just have people join with them,” Starkey said.

Related events include:

• At 10:30 p.m. on Aug. 14, Woof’s nightclub, 114 King St., launches its eighth annual “Spit-n-Seamen” boat cruise on Lake Monona. Tickets are $50 and are available at the club.

• Woof’s King Street Pride Block Party takes place 4 p.m–midnight on Aug. 15. The fundraiser last year raised $3,000. Woof’s is just off the Capitol Square.

• At 9 p.m. on Aug. 15, Plan B nightclub, 924 Williamson St., holds its sixth anniversary party. The event features Katya from the television series RuPaul’s Drag Race.

• From 10 a.m–5 p.m. on Aug. 15 and Aug. 16, the fifth annual Madison Pride Volleyball Tournament takes place at Callahan’s Sports Pub, 1902 Bartillon Drive, on the city’s west side.

The 2015 OutReach Pride Parade marches rain or shine.

For more information 

Visit www.lgbtoutreach.com. Donations are accepted at the event and anytime online.

To volunteer or help sponsor the parade, contact  

Indianapolis mayor to be Pride grand marshal

The mayor of Indianapolis who backed the LGBT community amid the uproar over Indiana’s anti-gay religious objections law has been named grand marshal of the city’s Pride parade.

Indy Pride announced last week it selected Mayor Greg Ballard to be the grand marshal of the Indiana Pride Parade on June 13 as part of Circle City Pride Week.

Ballard was prominent among Indiana political leaders in supporting the LGBT community after right-wing Gov. Mike Pence signed the religious objections law sanctioning discrimination against LGBT people. The Legislature later passed and Pence signed legislation aimed at amending the law, which still has many critics.

Indy Pride says Ballard is the first sitting mayor to serve as grand marshal of the parade.

Ballard says parade is a great opportunity to demonstrate “Hoosier hospitality.”

Israel hosts Mideast’s only Pride parades

Shirtless Israeli men, colorfully dressed drag queens and others partied June 13 through central Tel Aviv as tens of thousands of people took part in the city’s annual gay Pride parade, the largest event of its kind in the Middle East.

Tel Aviv is one of the few places in the Middle East where gays feel free to walk hand-in-hand and kiss in public. The city has emerged as one of the world’s most gay-friendly travel destinations in recent years, in sharp contrast to the rest of the region.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said more than 100,000 people took part. Loud music blasted along the parade’s route, thick with people dancing to the beats and waving rainbow flags. Drag queens wearing heavy makeup, dresses with sequins and high heels bounced along to the music alongside scantily clad men and women.

Tel Aviv’s openness to gays stands in contrast to conservative Jerusalem, just a short drive away, home to some of the holiest sites to Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Still, Jerusalem has a small gay scene and an annual Pride parade, albeit on a much more modest scale.

Gays serve openly in Israel’s military and parliament and many popular artists and entertainers are gay. However, leaders of the gay community say Israel still has far to go in promoting equality.

Officially, there is no same-sex marriage in Israel, primarily because there is no civil marriage of any kind. All Jewish weddings must be conducted through the Jewish rabbinate, which considers homosexuality a sin and a violation of Jewish law. But the state recognizes same-sex couples who marry abroad.

Across the rest of the Middle East, gay and lesbian relationships are taboo. The pervasiveness of religion in everyday life, along with strict cultural norms, plays a major factor in that. Same-sex relations are punishable by death in Iran, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen.

Among most Palestinians, gays tend to be secretive about their social lives. In the West Bank, a 1951 Jordanian law banning homosexual acts remains in effect, as does a ban in Gaza passed by British authorities in 1936.

60 injured during gay Pride march in Montenegro

Police in Montenegro fired tear gas to repel anti-gay extremists who threw rocks and firebombs at officers protecting a gay pride march on Oct. 21, officials said. About 60 people were injured.

The violence occurred when the attackers tried to push through hundreds of police to reach those taking part in the march in Podgorica, the capital of the staunchly conservative Balkan country. After the march, the gay rights demonstrators were evacuated to a safe location in police vehicles.

Police said about 20 of the injured during the clashes were officers, and the remaining 40 were from “hooligan groups.” About 60 of around 1,500 extremists who took part in the riots were arrested, police said.

March organizer Danijel Kalezic said the police protection allowed about 150 gay activists to walk peacefully through the city.

“As of today, gay people are no longer invisible in Montenegro,” Kalezic said. “From today, these streets are ours as well.”

Such pride marches are seen as a test of Montenegro’s commitment to human rights as it seeks to join the European Union. Gay rights opponents attacked a similar march in July in the coastal town of Budva.

Kenosha Pride set for July 6

United Alliance today announced plans for Kenosha’s first LGBT Pride March, set to take place at noon on July 6.

United Alliance, according to a news release, is a group of people of looking to create a safe and supportive community for members of the LGBT Community.

The march takes place just outside of LGBT Pride Month because, according to the release, United Alliance wants to remind people that community should be fostered all year long.

Pride in Kenosha begins a sign-making party at the starting point, Bain Park at 63rd Street and 11th Avenue, beginning at 11 a.m. Participants may create and bring either own signs or join the festivities early to make a sign. The theme for the event is “Unity In Diversity.”

The march will leave the park, moving east to Sheridan Road, then north on Sheridan to Civic Center Park at 56th Street and Sheridan Road, east on 56th Street to Sixth Avenue, north on Sixth Avenue through Seventh Avenue and ending at Union Park at 45th Street and Seventh Avenue.

Participants are encouraged to walk the entire route, However, two checkpoints will be created for those who would like to walk part of the route. The first checkpoint to allow people to enter or exit the march will be at Civic Center Park. The second checkpoint will be on the lot just north of the Boathouse Pub and Eatery on Seventh Avenue.

Following the march, there will be a block party hosted by United Alliance and Trolley Dogs on the lot just north of Trolley Dogs Restaurant, 5501 Sixth Ave., Kenosha.

Edith Windsor leads NY Pride parade

Only days after the Supreme Court used her lawsuit to grant same-sex couples federal marriage benefits, Edith Windsor helped lead New York City’s Gay Pride march on June 30.

Signs along the route read, “Thank you, Edie” – celebrating Windsor for her successful challenge of a provision of the Defense of Marriage Act that defined marriage as between a man and a woman.

“If somebody had told me 50 years ago that I would be the marshal of New York City’s gay pride parade in 2013, at the age of 84, I wouldn’t have believed it.”

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg joined hundreds of bikers whose motorcycles roared to life at noon to kick off the celebration, a colorful cavalcade of activists and others who marched down Fifth Avenue 44 years after the city’s first Pride march.

A color guard, a cadre of gay police officers and longtime couples all took part in the procession on a route where a rainbow of balloons arched overhead. Half of one couple carried a sign reading “Just Married Today” while the other tossed flowers into the crowd.

Longtime LGBT activist Cathy Renna said Windsor’s suit and the Supreme Court’s favorable ruling in a challenge to Proposition 8, the California gay marriage ban, made this year’s celebration special.

“It is an especially thrilling year to march this year,” she said. “I have seen more real progress in the past three years than the nearly two decades of activism before it.”

But, she added, “we must remain vigilant; hate crimes, discrimination and family rejection loom in our lives still.”

A spate of recent hate crimes in New York provide a stark reminder of work left to be done. In one case last month, police said a gunman used homophobic slurs before firing a fatal shot into a man’s face on a Manhattan street alive with a weekend midnight crowd. The city’s police commissioner called it an anti-gay hate crime.

Windsor said she long enjoyed the parade with her late wife, Thea Spyer, whom she married in Canada as Spyer was dying in 2007.

In 2009, she suffered a heart attack a month after Spyer’s death. While recovering, Windsor faced a hefty bill for inheritance taxes – more than $363,000, because Spyer was, legally, just a friend.

On June 30, Windsor was one of three grand marshals, joining musician and activist Harry Belafonte and Earl Fowlkes, head of the Center for Black Equity.

“I have marched in the parade for the last several years carrying a huge rainbow flag,” she said. “Last year, I was so elated that I danced my way down the whole street, for the entire route of the parade.”

On the Web…


Wausau Pride parade goes off without a hitch after original parade was cancelled

Wausau’s first reported gay Pride parade was cancelled, but an alternative event drew about 300 LGBT people and supporters downtown for yesterday’s March for Equality

Daily Herald Media described the event as festive and said it was almost “anti-climactic after plans for a different gay Pride march were canceled.”

The first announced event was cancelled because its organizer said participants were worried about their safety after ugly comments in the media and by a City Council member.

Daxx Bouvier, the man who claimed to have organized that event, told Daily Herald Media that “canceling the parade has set Wausau back 30 years in the way people think about the gay community.”

But Shannon Thomas of Wausau, who organized the March for Equality, said the peaceful event demonstrated the support the Wausau area really has for the LGBT community.

City Council member Dave Nutting said at meeting earlier this month that people should boycott Bouvier’s parade or, if they went, turn their backs on “deviant-behaving individuals.”

City officials said Friday that they were concerned because Bouvier had not provided proof of insurance, and they told WAOW-TV that he still owed the city money. Bouvier told the newspaper that he had insurance but hadn’t given the city a copy of the policy because he didn’t want to have it rewritten if they thought he needed a bigger one.

WiG has been unable to contact Bouvier. A blog profile for a “Daxx Bouvier” stated, “Daxx Bouvier resides in Beverly Hills, CA and Granite Peak, WI born in June (year unknown) adopted at the young age of 4, world traveler and philanthropist, best known for his lavish parties and support of animal rights with a net worth estimated at $60 million dollars working on his memoirs and creating his own fragrance as well. No occupation history.”

Bouvier’s parade was advertised on Craigslist. The notice referred to Daxx Bouvier Productions as the promoter and provided the names and contact information for two men.

But those men said they have nothing to do with a parade. One of the men, in a phone interview with WiG, said Bouvier listed him as a contact to “mess with my relationship with my fiancé.”

He also said Bouvier’s claims of having great wealth are outrageous.