“Enough with fears, prejudices and stereotypes—it is time to come out of the closet… it is time to be you,” said Alexei Marciciov, the Chairman of the NGO GenderDoc-M, during a LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex) pride march in Chişinău, Republic of Moldova.
About 130 participants, comprising of the LGBTI community in Eastern Europe, diplomats and representatives of NGOs, took part in Chişinău’s “March for Equality”, with rainbow flags and banners on the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia.
The UN Human Rights Office supported the event, which was organized by GenderDoc-M, Moldova’s first LGBTI rights organisation, as part of its equality and anti-discrimination work in the country.
The Republic of Moldova, during the Universal Periodic Review by the Human Rights Council in 2012, received a number of recommendations, requesting the Government to intensify its efforts to address discrimination against LGBTI people and to take concrete measures to raise public awareness about their rights, including the guarantee of the right of assembly and association.
Although LGBTI activists have tried to hold gay pride events publicly in Chişinău for over a decade, this was the first time such an event has taken place with the full backing of the public authorities.
“The event marks an advance for Moldova’s rule of law, as public authorities successfully withstood negative pressure, and upheld the right of all people to equal use of the central public space,” said Claude Cahn, the UN Human Rights Adviser in the Republic of Moldova.
Public opposition to gay pride demonstrations remains high and LGBTI rights are continuously disputed.
According to opinion polls, opposition in the Republic of Moldova to peaceful public assemblies by LGBTI people is as high as over 90 per cent.
Nicola Harrington-Buhay, the UN Resident Coordinator in Moldova, said that the event can help build a “truly inclusive society in which everyone can live without fear and discrimination”.
Following the march, Anastasia Danilova, the Executive Director of GenderDoc-M gave her remarks to the many participants, comprising of representatives from the Non-discrimination Coalition, Amnesty International Moldova, Human Rights Information Centre, UN agencies in Moldova, as well as representatives from the Swedish, Italian and American embassies.
“We are happy that there are people in the Republic of Moldova who believe that homophobia and transphobia are unacceptable in our country,” said Danilova. “Today is a day of equality and freedom, the time to be ourselves has come!”
23 May 2014