GLN PHOTO GALLERIES
International Day Against Homophobia -- Report and Pictures!
Saturday was the inaugural International Day Against Homophobia (I.D.A.HO) event in Chicago. IDAHO was started a few years ago in Europe as a means to call attention to the problem of anti-gay hate in countries around the world, including here in the United States.
Gathering in front of Women and Children First Bookstore for the protest.
The focus for this year's event was preventing the repression of Moscow, Russia Pride by government authorities there. For the past two years, Moscow authorities have banned Gay Pride, allowed neo-fascists and religious zealots to physically attack Pride participants, and arrested the Pride organizers. This year's Pride, scheduled for May 31st, was banned by the authorities even before Pride organizers could apply for a permit.
Participants in Chicago IDAHO passed out hundreds of flyers urging people to protest to the Russian embassy that they not repress Moscow Pride this year, and that we won't be silent about any repression which ensues.
The featured speaker at Chicago's IDAHO event was Arsham Parsi, co-founder and Executive Director of the Iranian Queer Organization (www.IRWO.net).
Arsham Parsi, co-founder and Executive Director of the Iranian Queer Organization, speaking at the start of Saturday's protest.
Arsham began organizing for Gay and Lesbian rights in Iran in 2001 at age 21. In 2003 he co-founded the group that would later become known as the Iranian Queer Organization. In 2005 the Iranian authorities learned of Arsham's organizing activities and threatened to arrest him, forcing him to flee Iran for Turkey and seek political asylum.
After 13 months in Turkey, Arsham finally won political asylum in Canada, and proceeded to set up the headquarters of IRQO in Toronto. IRQO is now a truly international organization, with members both within Iran as well as the Iranian diaspora.
Chicago's IDAHO event began with a brief speak-out outside of Andersonville's Women and Children First Bookstore, followed by a march through the community to Gerber Hart Library, Chicago's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) resource center and library.
On the march through Andersonville.
Larry King was a gay California teenager killed recently due to anti-gay hate.
At Gerber Hart, Arsham made more extended remarks about the situation of LGBT's in Iran and the reasons why we should oppose a prospective U.S. war on Iran.
The sponsor of today's event was the Gay Liberation Network (GLN). In a week's time, a representative of GLN will travel to Moscow to represent GLN at Moscow Pride. At GLN's regular monthly meeting at 7 PM, Wednesday, June 4 at the Gerber Hart Library (1127 W. Granville), our rep will give a report back about this year's Moscow Pride. The public is invited to attend.