We have seen two troubling stories this week regarding worldwide acceptance of our community. On Sunday, the New York Times ran an article regarding violence – including murder – directed towards gay Iraqis. These incidents are being called “emo killings,” and are focused on gay individuals and, as described by the Times, “teenagers who style themselves in a uniquely Iraqi collage of hipster, punk, emo and goth fashions.”
Additionally, we learned Monday that a governor in Russia, Georgiy Poltavchenko, signed a law that would censor people’s ability to communicate their experience as a member of the LGBT community by criminalizing reading, writing, speaking or reporting on anything related to gay individuals.
Boston Pride condemns both the violence itself and the climate of fear and ignorance that produces it. Even in this country, where the Pride movement is decades old, we still see incidents of hate and violence towards our community. In the United States, reports of anti-LGBTQH hate violence increased by 13% from 2009 to 2010, according to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs 2010 report (2010 is the latest available data).
Imagine the challenges that members of the LGBT community face in cultures and countries without a developed Pride organization. This October, Boston Pride is sponsoring and organizing the annual InterPride conference here in Boston. InterPride gives Pride committees from around the world the opportunity to learn from each other and strengthen the worldwide movement for equality and civil rights. These stories from Iraq and Russia remind us of why that continues to be so important.