Protest against Russia's antigay laws to be held at Vancouver's Russian Consulate
Vancouverites, from concerned citizens to the mayor, have been vocal about criticizing and protesting Russia's antigay laws.
Local activists have already held a kiss-in at Vancouver's Russian Consulate on August 2, and another one will be held next week.
A peaceful protest at the Russian Consulate (475 Howe Street) is slated for September 3 at 6:30 p.m.
The Global Speak Out For Russia in Vancouver event is one held concurrently with numerous protests organized by All Out, a global movement for LGBT equality, in cities ranging from Paraguay and Buenos Aires to Gothenburg, Dublin, and Naples.
The international protests are being staged prior to the G20 Summit being held in St. Petersburg, Russia, on September 5 and 6.
Organizer Janelle Zwarych told the Georgia Straight by phone that she became involved because she was shocked by what has been happening in Russia and wanted to do something about it. She also feels this isn't just a regional issue.
"It's just going to be a big gathering of people to bring some awareness to the fact that this big…[international] meeting is coming up and to demonstrate to our world leaders…that this isn't just an issue in Russia," she said. "This is something that affects everybody and not something that they should have to deal with, and be there in support of the Russians who can't support themselves right now in this way."
The vaguely worded law, which prohibits the promotion of "gay propaganda" or any defense of gay rights, can be applied to straight people as well.
Zwarych pointed out that ultimately everyone will be affected directly or indirectly.
"Straight people have gay kids, and I don't think it's something you can pigeonhole into a gay issue. It's human cruelty, what's going on….It's a human issue. It's not just a gay rights issue. It's a human rights issue."
Zwarych encouraged people to wear rainbow colours and bring supportive signs.
She said that speakers are still being secured but one speaker confirmed thus far will be openly gay singer-songwriter and yogi Will Blunderfield.
She added that it isn't intended to be an angry or violent event.
"The goal is for it be a very peaceful, loving gathering," she said. "This isn't something I hope would become anything other than that....This is just about love and acceptance of all people, and fairness for everybody."