Representatives of sexual minorities in Romania took part in the diversity march in Bucharest on Saturday, May 22. Homosexuals, lesbians, transgender, cross-dressers and mere supporters of diversity spent two hours at Gayfest 2010. Among them, Diane Fisher, lesbian mother and priest, says God loves all, no matter the sexual orientation. Talks at GayFest 2010 revolved around the financial crisis as well, with Diane Fisher claiming it only strengthens discrimination against sexual minorities.
Around 200 representatives of various homosexual minorities sang and danced at the diversity march in Bucharest. Cross-dressers exotic appearances did not to be missed, which brought colour to the scene, alongside balloons and rainbows. The Romanian GayFest enjoyed the support of many embassies, the strongest support coming from the British Embassy.
The Diversity march took the same route as last year: Unirii Boulevard - Constitution Piata. The parade was watched by tens of locals, some of them disapproving. "My children see the easy virtue, immoral parade and I need to explain to them what is going on. It is not normal to embarrass a whole country because of several tens of people. And look, what a waste: they blocked an entire boulevard and hundreds of gendarmes are paid with public money", a Bucharest local complained, watching the parade from behind protection bars.
The crisis and the sexual minorities
- The lack of money and the financial crisis represented an important theme at GayFest. "I was recently approached by a group of people in a pub. Besides insults, they asked me: how com you feel like parading in a time of crisis? The question might seem justified, but it is during a time of crisis when the civil rights are threatened. Especially the civil rights of marginal minorities", president of the ACCEPT association Florin Buhuceanu declared.
- The rights of minorities were also a topic the British ambassador talked about, Mr. Robin Barnett, and the MEP Michael Cashman. "I'm proud to say that I am gay and proud that you also have the courage to say it freely", the MEP told his parade mates.
Gay, lesbian and transgender, according to His likeness
Diane Fisher is an annual presence at GayFest in Romania. She is the Metropolitan Community Churches episcope and recommends herself as mother and lesbian. She says the mentality in Romania has changed during the last years, but the financial crisis in general has a negative impact on the sexual minority. She says that when the economy is not working, you want somebody else to get the tough bite. Diane says that those already marginalised are suffering at times like these but people should stand together, no matter what. She believes things have evolved in Romania since she first came, but there is still room for more.
In her GayFest speech, episcope Diane talked about how God sees minorities. "The church often tells us that we are not loved. And I am here to tell you that God loves all of you just the way you are for who you are", she said, adding that all people, not only some, were created according to the likeness of God.
HotNews.ro talked about other young people present at the parade about the discrimination of sexual orientation during an economic crisis. Here’s what they told us:
- "Discrimination is omnipresent in Romania. And not only for the gay, but for Gypsies and other minorities. We came here because we want no more discrimination. I believed the people have calmed down lately, but there are still the old-fashioned virtues. I believe there is something in our gene", Adelina says.
- "In times that challenge some nations, the world tends to be less tolerant. It is possible to be less bad for the community. This is why we are here, to do something. I generally support human rights", Alex said.
- This year the parade was followed by a group of foreign journalists as well. Among them, a journalist from cafebabel.com. "I am from London and live in Paris and this kind of thing is really normal for me to see. I did not expect it to see it here in Bucharest. Of course it has a really bad record, but we don't really talk about Romania that much, but we hear a lot about what's happening in Lithuania. It's much more mediatised. I'm not aware of the scene here and how the homophobia is, so I'm learning today by being in Bucharest", she said.
- Several people in Izvor Park were watching the moving party from the boulevard. A man showed his macho qualities and claimed that if the lesbian women had known him when he was young, they would have changed their orientation.
The seventh GayFest edition, organised by the Accept Association, occupied six days, from May 17 to 22 and included, besides the parade, a photo exhibition on the history of LGTB people - lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transsexuals - from the US, Great Britain, Germany, short movies the oldest gay movies, workshops, concerts, parties and a theatre play.
This year's edition marked the International Day of the Fight Against Homophobia and Trans-phobia too, celebrated every year on May 17. The celebration recalls the day when the homosexuality stopped being considered a disease and was removed from the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, put together by the World Health organisation.
The parade drew to an end without serious incidents. Next to the area surrounded by the order forces for the GayFest, a 10 year-old was giving out manifestos against homosexuals. The manifestos read: "Keep your distance! You've got HIV, you gay losers! The judgement day is coming!"