• Международный фестиваль Квир-культуры в Санкт-Петербурге

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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.

Queer Fest, organized by Coming Out, is one of the largest LGBT rights events in Russia. 10 days of seminars, discussions, photo exhibitions, and concerts against homophobia attract 1500-2000 visitors every year. This year, festival is proud to welcome Spanish photographer DIEGO VERGES, owner of numerous international awards in photography, Swedish artists Anna Viola Hallberg and Annica Karlsson Rixon with the project "State of Mind" that has toured the world, Flemish Minister for Youth, Education and Equal Opportunities PASCAL SMET, Swedish Minister for Gender Equality, Deputy Minister for Education NYAMKO SABUNI, State Secretary to the Minister of Education of Sweden BERTIL ÖSTBERG, and many other distinguished guests, activists, and artists. Festival will close with a concert by LENA KATINA, the voice of the former group T.A.T.U.

"The "propaganda of homosexuality" law condones homophobia and stigmatization of LGBT people. We already see a significant increase in aggression and violence towards LGBT. Until the public learns about us and stops being afraid of us, such absurd and populistic laws are going to be possible. The law was intended to force us into hiding. Instead, we are going to double our efforts at open dialogue with society, and will make this festival twice as big as before," says Polina Savchenko, Coming Out's director.

The risks and threats to the event are increased this year, reflecting the degraded political and social context of Russia. Earlier this year, Coming Out's IDAHO street demonstration was attacked by 100 right extremists and the risk of violence exists.  Harassment from city authorities, arrests and fines under the "propaganda" law (13 000 EUR for organization) are also possible. Organizers are taking all possible measures to minimize these risks.

We will provide updates on the situation around Queer Fest 2012. LGBT community of St. Petersburg and Russia appreciates support by the international community at times when our rights are blatantly violated. With your support, public gay rights events will grow stronger and more visible despite state legitimized discrimination of gay people in Russia.

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Detailed programme in English

LGBT Organizaiton Coming Out

Video greeting from Lena Katina

Photos for the Press

Video about the 2011 Festival

For more information:

Olga Lenkova

Communications Manager, LGBT Organization Coming Out

(812) 313 9369

+7 921 585 6106

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