Saturday (16. July 1994) the Theater di Cultura was surrounded by
armed police including some with dogs. The police were determined
to prevent homosexual artists from performing at the theatre.
Five Nordic artists - dancer Erik Kubista, musician Peter Berg
and ERI, the Finnish dance troupe were booked to participate in
an international gay and lesbian Out Festival in Bucharest. However,
giving in to outside pressure, the director of the Ion Grange Theatre
cancelled the Friday's performance at extremely short notice. The
show was then moved to Casa di Cultura (House of Culture).
However, on arriving at the Casa di Cultura the artists and prospective
audience were greeted by a large number of policemen who had been
ordered there by the Mayor of Bucharest, who had also formally prohibited
the performance. "We weren't even allowed to hold a press conference
at our hotel, The Minerva", said dancer Erik Kubista. "CNN,
the Romanian TV and about 20 journalists who showed up were forced
out onto the noisy boulevard instead."
The Festival, which had received support from the Swedish Institute
Foundation, the RFSL AIDS Foundation, and Tupilak, an organisation
of Nordic artists, as well as the German Hennchen Mehrzweck Foundation,
was arranged by Gay 45, a newly founded Romanian gay magazine.
Until recently Romania has had the most severe anti-gay legislation
in Europe, but the country relaxed some of their laws as a result
of international pressure. The Swedish artists were prevented from
performing in accordance with the law passed in May this year which
forbids the presentation of homosexuality in a positive light.
At the press conference (on the street) the artists got to the
point. “What if I dance after openly admitting that I am gay? Would
I be breaking the law?" asked Erik Kubista.
The events caused quite a stir in the Romanian press and television.
In the autumn of 1993 Romania was admitted to the Council of Europe
on the condition that the country ameliorate its human rights legislation.
The human rights of gays and lesbians were explicitly mentioned.
The Romanian daily newspaper, Tlneretul Liber, pointed out
- after the events which drew a great deal of attention - that the
situation in the country is now intolerable. Would an artist like
Elton John be allowed to perform in Romania? Would Nureyev have
been allowed to dance? Are Karl Lagerfeld’s fashion designs (according
to the newspaper Lagerfeld is gay) forbidden in Romania?
DAW. News Report, August 1994