This weekend was the annual Gay Pride parade and street festival in Calgary, which according to several eye-witness sources was better attended, better quality and better run than in previous years. Hopefully this is a start of a good trend (and the start of a run of years with good weather!)
In the spirit of "Pride season", when all the Pride parades and festivals around the world gear up, here are two societies with diametrically opposed views on being gay and celebrating the diversity of humanity.
Sao Paulo holds Gay Pride parade
The crowd was in party mood as it progressed through the city.
Hundreds of thousands of gay, lesbian, transgendered and transvestite people have taken part in a Gay Pride parade in the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo.
Organisers said the number of people taking part had exceeded last year's record of 2.5 million marchers.
The parade is said to be the largest of its kind in the world.
Costumes, floats and music dominated but activists say they also have a serious message, calling for a world without discrimination.
"We want to address machismo, racism and homophobia [...] which still exists in Brazil," said the president of the parade, Nelson Matias Pereira.
According to activists, between 1980 and 2006 some 2,680 gay people were murdered in Brazil, the majority thought to have been killed because of their sexuality.
The parade received official backing for the first time and was attended by Brazil's ministers for tourism and sport as well as local officials.
The city's first parade, staged in 1997, attracted just 2,000 people.
Gay Pride is taking place just days after around one million Evangelical Christians held their annual demonstration in Sao Paulo, during which one minister addressing the crowd linked homosexuality with Satanism.
With more than 70 Gay Pride parades taking place around the country, there are some signs of changing attitudes, our correspondent says, with a few states publicly expressing opposition to discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation.
However, civil unions between same sex couples are only recognised in one state in the south of Brazil and change on this issue remains a key demand of gay rights activists.
Wow. Two and a half million people coming out for a party. Now that's a diverse society! On the other hand...
From Montreal Simon:
Thousands join Tel Aviv gay pride parade
By JPOST.COM STAFF
While fur continues to fly over a gay pride march planned in Jerusalem at the end of June, Tel Aviv's gay pride parade drew some 10,000 participants on Friday, and was largely peaceful.
The parade set out from Kikar Rabin at noon, passed through the streets of the city and made its way to Gordon Beach, where marchers continued the festivity with a beach party.
The event was funded solely by the Tel Aviv Municipality, mainly because many sponsors of previous years declined to chip in, fearing a haredi boycott of their products.
Some 20 right-wing activists protested the event, after police approved a counter-demonstration on the condition that the number of participants would not surpass 50.
The demonstrators held signs that read: "This is an abominable, anti-Semitic march sponsored by the High Court against God!"
An Army Radio reporter claimed to have heard one of the protesters address the paraders with the words: "It's a shame the Nazis didn't finish you off!"
Right-wing activist Itamar Ben-Gvir told Army Radio that the alleged remark came in response to provocations made by pro-gay activists, who reportedly called the right-wing demonstrators "Nazis." Ben-Gvir stressed that it would never have occurred to him to use such harsh terminology.
He said the actual statement was, "Indeed, the Nazis were averse to you."
Earlier Friday, Ben-Gvir was quoted as saying that "they want to spread abomination in Jerusalem; it won't hurt if we spread some holiness in Tel Aviv."
Earlier this week, the Knesset passed a preliminary reading of a bill that would give municipalities the authority to prevent parades or marches deemed inappropriate, legislation that would effectively quash the planned Jerusalem march.
Gays seeking equal rights will no longer be allowed to congregate and demonstrate in Israel. The Knesset passed two bills through their first reading last week. If enacted into law, these bills will forcibly silence gay rallies across Israel.
This curious denial of rights is a hypocritical irony, demonstrated most succinctly by an anti-gay demonstrator during what will probably be Tel-Aviv’s last gay pride parade. According to an Army Radio reporter, a religious protester shouted to the marchers: “It’s a shame the Nazis didn’t finish you off.”
Meanwhile, Badatz, an Orthodox sector of rabbis, placed a curse on gay rights marchers and the police who maintain order during their demonstrations:
All those involved in the matter [of gay rights rallies], those of impure souls and those helping them and guarding them, they will feel in their souls a curse, a bad spirit will come over them and haunt them, they will never be cleansed of their sins from the judgment of God, in their bodies, their souls and their finances.
From Slap Upside the Head:
Spooky stuff. Who knew Orthodox rabbis were so practiced in their evil curse casting skills?
Once again religion fucks everything up. I can't believe how completely ridiculous these political and religious leaders are. With all the hypocrisy that spews from the mouths, how are any of them to be taken seriously? It's especially disheartening coming from a nation such as Israel. After all they've been through, if they can't recognize institutional tolerance, then who will? That's what you get when you allow religion to dictate your civic life.
This is so threatening?
Compared to this????