Yesterday was the day of Gay Pride here in Paris. And even though it was only a mere 22 degrees, this didn’t stop us from going out there and marching along all the way from Place du 18 Juin 1940 at Montparnesse-Bienvenue through the city along Boulevard du Montparnasse, Boulevard St-Michel, Boulevard St-Germain, eventually crossing the Seine at Pont de Sully, and finishing at Place de la Bastille. After which we went home to ready ourselves for the big party we organized together with ES Collection and our dear friends from La Nuit des Crazyvores. It was a great day, especially since France officially legalized same sex marriage and adoption rights this year after a long and much discussed battle. Which, believe me, is not over yet. It was also a great feeling to know that only a few days ago the Supreme Court in the United States overturned Proposition 8 and restored equal rights in California and gave the right to each state individual to legalize gay marriage. Two huge steps forwards in recent history.
Now I know I probably sound like a broken record. This isn’t the first time I mention this and I’m afraid it won’t be the last either. If only. Tough we are in a festive mood, and have every right to be so, there are others who’s gay pride marches are probably less celebratory. If they can have a Pride parade to begin with. So many countries still do not accept same sex couples as equal to heterosexual. So many countries go even further. Condemn homosexuality as unacceptable, unnatural, illegal and punishable. A feeling often fed by religious fractions. Its’ bizar really, when you think about it. If living in such a country, would one really think that if the general believe is that homosexuality is unnatural and thus a choice, you would make that choice knowing it can put you in jail. Or worse, have you executed? Russia recently extended the anti-homosexuality law that was already applied in Moscow to state level. For a big country like that, which was so well on its way to a more positive future, having a government that actively provokes its citizens to hate other citizens, this is a huge step back. Which makes us even more grateful to have the honor to work with people such as Kathrina Zakharova, the wonderful photographer who signs of on today’s cover and the following cover article in which she explains a bit more of the current situation in her country.
But like I said, before pointing fingers to others, we too are still not out of the woods. Last week a beautiful open-air photo exhibition here in Paris about equality, showing imaginary same sex couples photographed by Olivier Ciappa, was destroyed. And if that was not enough, it was followed by a hate video on YouTube (YouTube, you should be ashamed of yourselves to publish videos that are discriminating, hurtful and even have fascist opinions and expressions in it). Still this is nothing more than the small-minded hatefulness that some people just cannot resist in expressing and no matter what, it will always be that way. We feel privileged to live in a country that is at least governed and inhabited by a majority of people who think and believe otherwise. We also feel privileged to be able to express our feelings and opinions here, in a open letter to you all. But an open letter is just that. Words. And if there is anything we have learned from the past, going back to the riots of Stonewall in June 1969, words are not always enough. –BM-
Cover photogrpahy by Kathrina Zakharova.
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