150 participants joined, on Saturday, in the Gay Pride Parade (e.n. “Diversity March”) taking place, every year, in Bucharest. Participants carried brightly coloured balloons, with messages pleading for sexual diversity – “Free to be ourselves” -, as well as banners bearing similar messages and flags. They all defied the heat and, for two hours, partied, singing and whistling.
Also attending the festivities were officials of the US Embassy, including the Ambassador Mark Gitenstein, the British Ambassador Martin Harris and the Swedish Ambassador, Anders Bengtcen, as well as representatives of the National Anti-Discrimination Council and of Amnesty International. On this occasion, Gitenstein declared himself honoured to attend the manifestation, arguing it was an important moment meant to illustrate the value of diversity, that which led the US to where they are right now in terms of pro-freedom and pro-diversity. “The problem is what we do about that.
An important thing is to come here and show, and say, that you oppose discrimination,” Gitenstein stated, quoted by Mediafax. In turn, the Ambassador of the United Kingdom to Romania, Martin Harris, argued that the march was a celebration of diversity. “I believe diversity is normality,” Harris underlined. The Swedish Ambassador, Anders Bengtcen, declared himself, as well, happy and honoured to attend the Gay Pride Parade, stressing the importance of manifestations for human rights and freedom. In turn, the representative of Amnesty International called on the Romanian authorities to become actively involved in promoting diversity in Romania. The “Diversity March”, the last manifestation on the programme of this year’s edition of gayFest, was authorised on the route Unirii Boulevard – Constitution Square – Izvor Park, where the closing speeches were delivered.
As every year, the Diversity March was preceded by the “March for Normality”, organized, in protest, by the New Right. The organizers of the march claimed they had wanted to promote, as they always do, the milestones of normality. “We will continue to stage such actions as long as the gay marches are authorised,” the leader of the organization, Tudor Ionescu, stated. Furthermore, Ionescu argued that he had expected no funding would be allotted, during a year of crisis, to the “shame parade” and to sex-change operations costing between EUR 20,000 and 60,000. “In a year in which wages and pensions were cut, the state, via the National Health Insurance Office (CNAS), refunds sex-change operations costing between EUR 20,000 and 60,000. There is no money for pensions and wages, but they find the money for such operations,” he argued. Approximately 50 people attended the “March for Normality”.