May I present the Rainbow Greens?

Greetings from the queer greens! The LGBTQ session of the European Green Party Council brought together queer greens from all over Europe. We checked the list of Pride marches together – it was several pages long! I personally recommend the Helsinki Pride on the 30th June and the Belgrade Pride on the 6th of October – I’m going to the first and a lot of young greens to the second.

The stories of the rainbow movement from different countries were sometimes encouraging, sometimes not. In Malta, two teenage girls were badly beaten up because they were kissing in a park, but the LGBT movement managed to politicise the issue and pass an anti-discrimination law. In Romania, a new green party has emerged with an openly gay leader, and if all goes well for the party and its allies, it’s going to get to the parliament this year.

The power shift in France has made it much easier for LGBT organisations to get access to schools to talk to the students and fight against homophobia. In Serbia, the Pride march has been cancelled several times because the police “does not have the capacities to secure the situation” – however, they miraculously find the adequate resources for football matches drawing similar sized crowds.

In Finland, you’d imagine the situation is pretty good. Still, there was a gas attack against the Pride march in 2010, and the Christian democrats are fighting against equal marriage law, which is now stuck in the bureaucracy. However, the presidential campaign of Pekka Haavisto, the first gay presidential candidate, was exhilarating. He got to the second round, thus securing the Greens the best-ever result in elections!

So there is hope. I believe in us.


How many Finns does it take to annul the St. Petersburg anti-gay law?

I would love to say that we Finns put some effective pressure on the governor of St. Petersburg Georgy S. Poltavchenko when he honoured the Helsinki 200 years anniversary with his presence yesterday. But at least we tried! The national LGBTI rights organization Seta and Amnesty, together with some 50 activists, were there. We stood outside the Finlandia hall, shouting “Love is a human right!” Did you hear that, Poltavchenko?

We had a question to the governor: how can you disgrace the Russian constitution, which guarantees equal rights for everyone, by signing a law which so obviously discriminates a group of people?

That’s a good question for sure. But how can we get the reaction we’d like to see as an answer? The constitution did not stop Poltavchenko from signing the law.

I don’t know, but I’d like to pose a question to the international LGBTI community: what can we do? Helsinki is right here between the world’s most gay-friendly city Stockholm and the not-so-gay-friendly metropolis St. Petersburg – how can we make sure we move to the Swedish way? How can we create the pressure needed to annul the law, or at least prevent it become accepted nation-wide? We are ready to act – what shall we do?

I’m illegal in Senegal!

It was just few weeks before the Congress when it happened. I’d been excited about getting to Senegal, since I’d never visited Africa before. But when I was searching some information about LGBT rights in Senegal, I realized I’m illegal here.

The CastleGayGuide informs us: “Senegal specifically outlaws same-sex sexual acts, and has prosecuted men accused of homosexuality in the past. Homosexuals face routine discrimination in the society. ” Swell, I feel so welcome.

Well, at least there’s one bright side in not having my girlfriend here. It would have been difficult to refrain from illegal activities had she been with me. Still, it’s a poor consolation, really.

I very much wonder the decision to have the Global Young Greens and Global Greens Congresses in Senegal in the first place. I’ve heard no good reasons for it – apparently it’s political. In my opinion, that should be exactly the reason why not to have the Congresses here. For me, value liberalism is a core green value, and the movement has always been open to all sexual minorities. As it is, we are showing political and financial support to a state who does not respect human rights.

Hopefully the situation will change soon. The newly elected president Macky Sall declared his intention to handle the question “with responsibility” and to transform Senegal into a modern society. Maybe it’s not much, but it sure is better than before. Actually, during the Campaign, Sall was attacked by the former president Wade because of this expression of support.

As it is, I don’t really feel this Congress is for me.