Pride Month in Europe: parades and conflicts

On 28 June 1969, gays, lesbians, transgender and other queer people rose up in protest for the first time after the New York City police had repeatedly raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club on Christopher Street. The uprising triggered protests and Pride parades against the criminalisation of LGBTQI+ across the globe. June is now celebrated as Pride Month worldwide. The press takes a look at equality in Europe.

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El País (ES) /

Visible support needed

For El País, it is non-negotiable that the authorities publicly support Pride Month:

“During the Franco dictatorship, the law on vagrants and crooks was modified to include homosexuals. They often ended up in prisons, concentration camps and asylums. They were tortured, humiliated, and condemned. ... The transgender law [passed in February] is a real step forward. ... The gay community continues to be in danger. ... The fact that some Spanish authorities have taken down the rainbow flags proves it. ... This is a dangerous gesture. ... The laws have brought the LGBTIQ+ community out of the darkness and into the light. Other groups that remain invisible need that too. ... The LGBTIQ+ struggle sets an example that must be followed.”

Dnevnik (SI) /

Pride has become more dangerous again

Dnevnik is concerned about growing levels of violence against LGBTQI people:

“The last Ljubljana Pride Parade is a serious warning. Activists say there has never been as much violence as this year. According to reports, some even hid their rainbow flags on their way back home. This is happening in Ljubljana, where the first gay and lesbian clubs in Eastern Europe were founded in the 1980s, at the very moment when the country's president was attending the parade for the first time. Things seemed almost settled. ... If the US had waited for the right atmosphere to gradually develop without upsetting the population, there would still be segregation laws and racial discrimination in the South today.”

Star (TR) /

Anti-religious values must no longer be tolerated

The pro-government newspaper Star sees equality for sexual and gender minorities and the educational work it involves as a threat:

“In Western countries, children are introduced to these things as early as primary school. In a culture where sexual experiences start at a very early age, children are taught that all forms of sexuality are reasonable and legitimate, that they can be experienced and accepted as such. You can no longer say 'he' or 'she' to someone you've just met. ... We can't just organise our own lives according to religious arguments and otherwise stand apart from it all. We have to fight it.”

Artı Gerçek (TR) /

Propaganda does not change the facts

The Pride parade was banned in Istanbul, and a gathering for a Trans Pride parade in Taksim Square on 18 June was broken up by the police. Artı Gerçek admonishes:

“We understand very well what the problem of the state and the AKP is. ... In order to squeeze the whole of society into a specific holy family fantasy they will try to spread homophobia and transphobia through all channels. ... This is madness! It is downright tyranny. It will certainly harm society and destroy many people. But it's unlikely that this strategy will succeed. Trans people exist. Homosexuals exist. LGBTI+ people exist. And no insidious propaganda mechanism can erase these facts.”

Új Szó (SK) /

Fomenting hate as a diversionary tactic

Minorities are once again being used as scapegoats, Új Szó believes:

“The worse the economic and general living conditions are for 99 percent of the population, the clearer it becomes to the ruling politicians, oligarchs and corporations that they need scapegoats to divert attention from their responsibility for the deteriorating situation. That's where the various minorities come in handy. As many places fly the rainbow flag in June, the far-right machinery attacks LGBTQ people all the more fiercely.”

Eesti Päevaleht (EE) /

Same-sex marriage soon no longer a big issue

The Estonian parliament voted to legalise same-sex marriage in a confidence vote on Tuesday, under protest from the opposition. For Eesti Päevaleht this is a logical step:

“The passing of the marriage law in parliament is undoubtedly historic. ... A coalition that calls itself liberal has been in power for years in Estonia. It would have been incomprehensible to voters if a government with such a clear mandate had not taken this progressive step. The vote was made without coercion, as the number of members of the coalition who abstained demonstrates. The example of Finland shows that after the introduction of marriage equality the issue will soon be behind us and we will be able to focus on what really matters.”

Krytyka Polityczna (PL) /

Will Poland be next?

Poland could follow in Estonia's footsteps and allow same-sex marriage after the parliamentary elections, cultural anthropologist Katarzyna Przyborska comments hopefully on Krytyka Polityczna:

“On Sunday, a magnificent Equality Parade marched through Warsaw, and the city celebrated until the early hours of the morning. We can interpret the news from Estonia as a good sign, we can see it as an indication of what's to come. The combined forces of liberals and social democrats have a chance to get us out of the situation we are in under PiS rule. I hope that after this autumn's elections marriage equality will become a reality for us as well.”

Rzeczpospolita (PL) /

Divisive wokeism

Rzeczpospolita comments on a dispute within the Polish LGBTQI scene at this year's pride parade in Warsaw:

“Another contradiction that marked this year's event concerned a phenomenon that, after a delay, has now reached Poland. A large number of homosexuals boycotted the parade in protest against its 'appropriation' by transsexuals and people who identify as non-binary. The dispute between these two 'subgroups' of the LGBT movement is arguably the sharpest front in the ideological debate in the West at the moment. It perfectly illustrates how the ideology of woke consciousness bites its own tail.”