Munich’s Kiss-in in front of Russia’s Consulate08.09.2013 | cb — No comments
Munich, 8th of September 2013 – Love against hate. On Sunday, 500 men and women gathered in front of the Russian Consulate in Munich to protest. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people, and not only them, came to celebrate love – in words, with music and actions pledged, as the program for this afternoon promised, “To Russia with Love” .
The reason for the rally was Russia’s law against so-called gay propaganda. Since the Russian Parliament, the State Duma, banned any positive information about homosexuality in the presence of minors in June – supposedly to protect children – the whole world is joining the protests. This law restricts human rights; everybody may feel free to hunt gay people for the simple reason they are different.
Hundreds came to join
As part of the global protest “To Russia with Love”, on Sunday, Munich rose up against the homophobic politics in Russia . 56 cities around the world took part this day including German cities of Berlin, Hamburg, Stuttgart, Bonn and Trier. The organisers of the venue, the city’s gay community centre Sub and Contact Group Munich Kiev Queer, successfully invited hundreds of people. Many political parties joined the event, including conservative ones.
Love in words, in music and actions – that was the motto of the afternoon. Barbara Lux and Thomas Lechner presented the program of the day; they are both from Munich Kiev Queer. Lux initially welcomed all the guests, thanked our sponsors and informed about the requirements of the city administration.
That’s fun by the way. For example you aren’t allowed to demonstrate in front of the Consulate, it is a restricted area, and the sidewalks and roadways should be kept free, too. This is Germany, everything must be in order. But the policemen, in general, were very friendly with everybody.
Beware at the Consulate
Anyway, nobody was working on this day in the Consulate , and only a few children romped around in the courtyard . A woman took them quickly by her side – as if they might became lesbian or gay by watching us.
“Today we want to show our solidarity with all lesbian, gay, bisexual , transgender and intersex people in Russia and Eastern Europe,” said Barbara Lux opening the rally. “You are not alone. We protest against this inhuman law. ” Lux pledged for a dialogue between Russia and the world. “It’s about cooperation, we can learn from each other.”
The Contact Group Munich Kiev Queer, which coordinates the cooperation between Munich’s and Kiev’s LGBT-communities, even had invited the Consul of the Russian Federation , Mr. Andrey Yurevich Grozov. He answered with a letter, but didn’t come. Instead Mr. P. was on the stage. But this is for later.
Children must be protected
What did Mr. Grozov write? Only nice things, of course. Discrimination, the Consul said, was prohibited in Russia. And that the Russian Constitution protected sexual minorities. The opponents just pretended the law to be different, he added. What he observed was that LGBT-activists would deliberately protest in an aggressive way in front of childcare facilities. And in general, the work of NGOs and LGBT-activists remained undisturbed in Russia.
But Grozov also wrote that this law was necessary in a way. Because the state had an obligation to protect children from information that could negatively influence their health, their ethical and spiritual development. That’s seducingly honest and tells us what most Russian people think: That homosexuality is a choice! But it is not.
Ukraine – watch out!
In Ukraine, a similar law is on hold in the Parliament. Barbara Lux from Munich Kiev Queer warned the country not to follow the example of Russia. For, this law was in fact a license for persecuting homosexuals; indeed, attacks are increasing in the country.
City Councilor Lydia Dietrich (Green Party), who participated in the Pride in Kiev in May, talked about the subject after Barbara Lux. The history is well known: in 2012 the Pride failed, in 2013 it was a success – partly thanks to the support of Munich. Dietrich claimed the community of Munich to support Kiev–related projects of Munich’s LGBT- scene and to participate for example in KyivPride 2014 . “If KyivPride succeeds”, she said, “Ukraine can be a positive role model for the whole region.” Russia was not.
After the speeches: Welcome on the stage!
The afternoon continued with texts and literary works read by Sibylle von Tiedemann. She is also member of Munich Kiev Queer. Von Tiedemann made a point against ignorance because homosexuality always existed in Russia , she says. The words were very touching.
So, for example, in 1908, a 29 -year-old boy wrote in the newspaper “Voice of Love”: ” I’m honest, a smart man , I ‘m 29 years old, brunette, not stupid, not a freak, well-built, funny I love company, dancing, but I do not fall in love; fate laughs mercilessly at me , I do not find a true friend to me and I feel lonely. ”
Way more cheerful was Maria Maschenka’s performance on the stage: She sang with Mr.Putin. “Druzhba ” was called her song and it means friendship. So the singer enchanted the audience with a Russian song – without really singing in Russian. It just sounded like that. Anyway it was a big success. Will it help to give Mr P. some heart?
Still in costume: Naomi Lawrence, openly Lesbian artist from Munich. At the end of the performance, she took a rainbow flag out of her head and wildly danced with it on the stage. Mr. P. finally agreed to join the party dancing with some gays and lesbians.
Such inspired, Thomas Lechner, our co-moderator, asked the masses to kiss, right after the balloons were flying in the air. A beautiful picture to see these colourful balloons climbing to the gray and cold sky. Male and women couples were kissing – this was the love message to Russia. Just a little music after and then we said good night , Russia. Take care.
[Munich’s LGBT Film Network QueerRelations made a movie about the Munich Kiss-in – please find here our long– and shortversion of the film. Many thanks to Wolfgang Fänderl, Stephan Schoeneich, Sibylle von Tiedemann, Olga Heindl and Frank Loleit!]