• Международный фестиваль Квир-культуры в Санкт-Петербурге

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Youth rights are LGBT rights

Ministers of Sweden and Belgium address to the participants of Queerfest 2012 the message of support of LGBTrights. Integration affairs and gender equality minister of Sweden Nyamko Sabuni will participate in the opening ofthe exhibition “Article 1” on September 25. The exhibition refers to Article 1 of the General declaration of humanrights and calls to remember that freedom and equality in dignity and rights applies not only to heterosexual majority,but to LGBT community as well. Her colleague - Flemish minister for youth affairs, education and equal possibilities PASCAL SMET will attend interactive seminar “Trans-theory” on September 22, which attracts attention to one ofthe most defenseless group within LGBT community – transgender people.

It is not accidental that European officials are interested in LGBT issue. 6 months ago in St Petersburg city authoritiesapproved scandalous law “About propaganda of homosexualism”. The law doesn’t allow distribution of information about homosexuality and transgender among youth under 18 years old. Primarily, this law violates rights of youngpeople - right for free access to and free search of information and right for protection from discrimination and harassment.

Official cause for the visit of both ministers to Russia was participation in the IX Conference of ministers of youngpeople affairs of Council of Europe. Topic of the conference – “Access for youth to rights: development ofinnovations in youth politics in Europe”. 350 representatives from 50 European countries will gather to discuss issues concerning youth development in multicultural and multi-confessional communities, and the ways of providing conditions for social involvement of young people into society, prophylactics of asocial manifestations of youth.


Ian McKellen will open QueerFest: "Some people are gay. Get over it!"

Famous British actor who performed as Gandalf and Magnetto, open gay and entitled as a knight, sir Ian McKellen "sends a message of hope" to the LGBT community of St. Petersburg, Russia and criticises the homophobic law.

"QueerFest is a very important event. And I hope you have a successful festival, - Ian McKellen says in his video address, - 20 years ago in the UK a law was passed similar to your own which prevented us speaking to young people positively on gay issues. This was an unnecessary law. A cruel law. Contradicted any sense of human rights. And it was a work of a government that was a bully."


Let us be reminded that QueeFest 2012 - the festival in support of LGBT rights - will open in St. Petersburg on September 20. Besides Ian McKellen's video, guests of the Festival will be greeted by the Minister for integration and gender equlity of Sweden NYAMKO SABUNI, Flemish Minister for Education, Youth, Equal Opportunities PASCAL SMET, also invited are the Consuls General of Sweden, the Netherlads, United Kingdom, Norway, Finland, France, Germany, Belgium and USA.


Ian McKellen's video address:

Full text of address:

Hello! It's Ian McKellen.

I am speaking from my home in London and I am wearing my favourite t-shirt: "Some people are gay. Get over it".

I'd like to start first with thank you for your invitation and I'm so sorry that I can't be with you. I'd love to return to St. Peterbsurg - the beautiful city which harbored the talents of Tschaikovsky, Diagilev and Nureev and many other less celebrated people over the years.

QueerFest is a very important event. Not just for you locally but for us outside Russia who care about civil rights. And I hope you have a successful festival.

I'd like to send you a message of hope. 20 years ago in the UK a law was passed similar to your own which prevented us speaking to young people positively on gay issues. This was an unnecessary law. A cruel law. Contradicted any sense of human rights. And it was a work of a government that was a bully.

But over the years, as individual gay people and straight people gathered together and made their views clear we managed to persuade the politicians one by one that they were wrong. So now we are in the happy situation that that law has been repealed. And we are close to having same gender marriages in the UK. I just hope that similar progress is possible in Russia.

I'll end by sending you all my love.

Good bye!



September 20-29 St. Petersburg will host its 4th annual international queer pride and culture festival: Queer Fest 2012(http://queerfest.ru). This is the first year the festival is organized with the new "homosexual propaganda" law in place, which aims to outlaw distribution of information about homosexuality to minors.

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We are proud to announce that the festival will be attended this year by NYAMKO SABUNI, Swedish Minister for Gender Equality, (September 25, the Museum Day and the opening of “Paragraph 1”), and PASCAL SMET, Flemish Minister for Youth, Education and Equal Opportunities (September 22, Trans Theory seminar). Also KJETIL ANDREAS OSTLING, State Secretary to the Norwegian Minister of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion will attend the opening of "Paragraph 1" on 25th September.

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