In keeping with BENT's practice of bringing readers perspectives on queer and disability activism worldwide (previous items originated in England, Sweden and Ireland) we offer the following opportunity for international queer solidarity.


Hello to all those who might read my (long) letter! I'm writing to you on behalf of an Estonian organization called MeaCulpa. Just in case you have no idea what I'm talking about, Estonia is a tiny European country situated by the Baltic sea, with a population of 1.4 million. Yes, it is extremely small.

This year from 12 to 15 August we are organizing our very first Baltic Pride celebration, for all three Baltic States (Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia). Being former Soviet countries, homophobia and discrimination are a big problem here, as you can imagine. Called Moonbow Pride,our event is intended to raise general awareness. It will be be a noncommercial, cultural event, meant to declare: "We are here and it is OK."

Although physical abuse and attacks against gays have diminished significantly in the last few last years, mental violence still makes it very difficult for most to come out. Even these days it means very likely losing your job, being separated from your relatives, and losing rights to your children (in custody cases, homosexuality of a parent automatically brands the parent as a person of no moral standards, as a pervert, and, if you are a lesbian, labels you virtually a whore).

Our Scandinavian neighbors have promised us moral support and to participate in the march, so that next year our own people will have even more the courage to come out and march with us. Most events will be open for all public—just to give them and easy and friendly way to see gays and to get used to them not being possessed, diseased, aggressive, or otherwise a threat

The first day, Thursday, will be a literature day, including poetry readings. Friday will be dedicated to homo-related movies, both entertainment and documentaries. On Saturday the actual march will take place, and in the evening concerts with gay performers from classic to pop. Sunday is dedicated to art, both done by homosexuals or expressing homosexuality.

Why I am writing to you? We need all the support we can get. It would be fantastic if you could publish information in your publication. Our people are afraid to go out in the streets and get "labeled," so we are trying to get as many guests to support the event as possible. If there are more people marching, it will be easier for all of us to join in.

If you are interested in making history with us, please feel free to contact info@meaculpa.ee. To reduce the costs of traveling, we will organize accommodations with families, and provide information on traveling, hotels, etc. Also, we are trying to get people whose words have greater meaning, who, themselves being known and gay, would be willing to speak up. Of course, traveling costs, etc. would be covered and we would gladly assist in any other possible way to make them feel comfortable.

Questions and ideas are more than welcome. We'd be glad to give you detailed information about life in former Soviet countries, our organization, and the Pride event. etc.

Our Website is available at www.meaculpa.ee, though not much in English, sorry. You can also reach us by telephone at 372-51-61-840

Thank you for your help.
Krissu, Chairwoman




BENT: A Journal of CripGay Voices/May 2004