Gay parade in Baku: to be or not to be?

Thu 12 January 2012 11:26 GMT | 16:26 Local Time

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It just so happened that the song contest "Eurovision" for decades attracted the attention of not only the masses, but also representatives of various minorities, including sexual.

In 2012, the contest will run in Azerbaijan. And this event generated a lot or rumors about that a gay parade will be held in our country on the eve of the event.

Oil was poured in the fire by information appeared on nighttours.com where the list of cities to host gay parades and events includes Baku from 22 to 26 May (on the eve of the contest).

Is it possible that the gay pride will run in our city?


On this issue, we addressed to Kamran Rzayev, chairman of the nongovernmental organization “Gender and Development”, who deals with LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) communities in Azerbaijan.

According to Rzayev, despite the fact that Eurovision is one of the favorite events of gays, talks about the realization of this parade in Azerbaijan are nothing but rumors.

“Neither our community nor majority of representatives of the sexual minorities in Azerbaijan are ready for it”, Rzayev considers.

According to Rzayev, rumors on this theme are launched deliberately to discredit the realization of the contest in Azerbaijan.

“Cases of discrimination against gay people in Azerbaijan are relatively rare. This is basically a verbal skirmish that happens when some homosexuals are ridiculed but such extreme measures as dismissal from employment or physical violence are not reached.

By the way, this issue is also relevant for the majority of European countries. It’s a pity that someone uses Eurovision to foment intolerance in our society “, Rzayev said.

“Attitude towards gays depends on the level of awareness of the society. Unfortunately, this problem still is not enlightened enough. That’s why such ‘passions’ hang around the Eurovision”, Ruslan Balukhin, one of the representatives of the Azerbaijani LGBT society, considers.

To him, any civilized society shows tolerance regarding sexual minorities.

“There are some people in Azerbaijan who don’t hide their sexual orientation. It doesn’t mean that they parade it and there is no need to it. They peacefully live in our community, work and communicate with people who are enlightened enough and treat them with understanding”, Balukhin said.

According to Rauf Mardiyev, general secretary of “Ireli” Public Union, rumors about holding gay pride parade in Azerbaijan are groundless.

“Azerbaijani citizens were always famous for their tolerance. We never had discrimination in religious and national sphere. It lacks even in the attitude towards sexual minorities.

But we shouldn’t neglect our traditions and mentality. Our community is not prepared for such kind of events and besides, there is no need for them”, Mardiyev considers.

It’s difficult to disagree with the positions mentioned above. The traditionally tolerant Azerbaijani society really doesn’t cause problems for people whose opinions don’t reflect the position of the majority. And this concerns also sexual minorities.

This is confirmed by numerous journalistic investigations of our colleagues abroad. For example, in article “Problem which doesn’t exist”, published by influential Russian online resource Lenta.ru, representative of LGBT community openly talks about trivial problems which sexual minorities can face in Azerbaijan and at the same time, she stressed that she doesn’t feel any serious problem or harassment. The main thing is not openly show a defiant act against the rest of society.

“I always say that orientation is not important as long as a person is normal. Since, we don’t come to work and say: “Hello, I’m a gay” or “I’m a heterosexual”. First, you come to work, meet workers, communicate, work and show yourself as part of the staff. Other things are secondary. No need to tell everything at once.

When a gay person talks about his discrimination, I often ask: “Have you led the situation to the point that it becomes so evident?” Boys think at all that everything is permissible.

No workplace unlikely reacts well to a man who doesn’t miss any woman or to a woman who jumps into every man and also causes problems.

If it’s not welcomed either, why do you expect that you will be?” the respondent from Baku told Lenta.ru.

She also touched upon gay parades in Baku. According to the representative of the sexual minority, no one wants to conduct gay pride parades in Baku and everyone leaves peacefully.

“We officially don’t have such problem because no one wants it. I don’t want it either. It even didn’t come to my mind. I’m not going to join it. But they would be dispersed if they came up with gay parade.

A person from our office told the Moldavian director of the organization: ‘No one touches us here at all’. Their LGBT is an official open organization which holds flashmobs, parade something and write articles in newspapers. Ours, however, is registered as a gender organization to combat against AIDS. Everyone knows what we are engaged in and officially, everything is perfect”, she said.

In principle, all of this is understandable. No matter how tolerant society is towards sexual minorities, it has definite traditions and morals which shouldn’t be infringed.

In the end, this is the civilized hostel – where instead of blindly copying others ‘templates’, society finds its own harmonious consensus which observes the principle of the golden mean – none of the sides feel themselves offended and aggrieved.

Judging by the comments of representatives of minorities, such balance exists today and there is no reason to change it.

This is confirmed by the abovementioned article of Lenta.ru, narrated by the respondent from Baku: “In fact, the people are tolerant. This is the case, not Islam. The nation was always friendly to others and was interested in them. I myself live socially normal life and no one beat and killed me out of the blue”.

Summarizing the comment, we can infer that gay parades will unlikely happen in Azerbaijan in coming years.

This is not the aspiration even of representatives of sexual minorities who, for the most part, do not want to expose their sexual preferences on public display. After all, personal life of every person is known to be his private matter.

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