to a financial grant from the Swedish Institute, two Swedes were
able to be on the scene for the pioneering event in Minsk, along
with delegations from Russia, the Ukraine and Britain.
The event was organised by the Belorussian gay publication „Forum
Lambda“(FL) despite the regime’s refusal to recognise the legality
of the organisation itself and despite enormous homophobia in the
The festival was the target of a masked police raid, during which
3 participants were beaten. The Swedish-ILGCN Seminar "Homo-Culture
= Human Rights" was cancelled at the University of Culture
at the last moment by homophobic professors, despite being previously
approved by the rector. The seminar was moved to the Tatyana Film
Institute - which hosts international women’s and human rights film
festivals - and where Swedish and other gay and lesbian feature
and doc-films were screened for two days. Courageous institute employees
have pledge future co-operation with similar events.
The seminars at the University of International Relations - organised
with the help of a Swedish U.N. Development program employee in
Minsk - were undisturbed. For the first time in the uni’s history,
a series of discussions on gay rights legislation and the situation
of lesbians and gays in the participating organisations, including
Sweden were held. During the festival visiting gay activists were
also able to visit human rights organisations in Minsk, as well
as Belorussian and other cultural institutes to discuss co-operation.
Some of those who had previously hesitated due to the widespread
homophobia, have agreed to support Forum Lambda.
The Belorussian Amnesty International group expressed a strong
desire to co-operate and prepared a list of cultural projects involving
FL, Tupilak and the ILGCN. Several programs of co-operation between
organisations represented were agreed.
The small but growing number of gays emerging on the commercial
scene in Minsk expressed admiration for the work of the activists
and their ability to organise a Pride & Cultural Festival after
only a year in existence.
The ILGCN cultural ambassador singer/musician, Peter Fröberg joined
colleagues from Belorussia and the Ukraine in a club in Minsk providing
festival participants with cabaret programs.
- Films for Human Rights - a list
issued by the ILGCN for
activists including the AI Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, &Transgender
Network - available from
C. de la Motte-Sherman from
the Berlin ILGCN for minimum 6 DM or 2 GBP inc. postage
Colin de la Motte-Sherman (1999)