In New York, they are preparing to host the WorldPride anniversary parade. On June 28, 1969, the police raided the Manhattan gay club “Stonewall”: this event marked the beginning of a major struggle of sex minorities for their rights. How common homophobic attitudes among Americans are now and how the lives of homosexuals have changed over the past decades, correspondent RTVI Harry Knjagnitsky.
Anton and Arsen Low met and married in New York. There is no need to hide from anyone, be silent, hide and conceal your feelings.
Arsen Lowe: “When I lived in Russia, I worked there, there was a feeling of inner homophobia, there were inner fears”.
They traveled almost all of America, and it was not that in all American states they managed without slanting glances in their direction, but did not reach obvious reproaches or threats.
Anton Low: “Maybe there were places in which I could not feel so comfortable, but there was no homophobia or anything else.”
Nowadays, in front of the gay community in America, the green street is formally open. Although why green? It is traditionally painted in all colors of the rainbow: choose yourself any way. But even 50 years ago, in all US states, with the exception of Illinois, homosexuality was a criminal offense.
If you’re lucky, they will be sent to a hospital: gays in America in the 60s were officially considered mentally ill, says Alexei Gorshkov to tourists. The human rights activist conducts free tours of Greenwich Village. Today this area is called Hipster, and in the late 60s it was called “the cloaca inhabited by sodomites.”
Alexey Gorshkov, a human rights activist: “In the 60s, the authorities of the State of New York banned the sale of alcohol to gays because they violate public morality.”
The police monitored morality: they organized raids in bars where homosexuals gathered. With the current gay clubs such places had nothing to do. These were semi-underground institutions, they were kept by the mafia, which was bought off from the police by bribes. The most famous bar was considered “Stonevoll-Inn.”
On the night of June 28, 1969, a seemingly ordinary raid with shouts on duty was staged here: “No one should move! Police! All to the wall! What rags are you wearing? ” But then people tired of bullying burst.
Some say that the first to the police threw either a coin, or a bottle, or a transsexual stone, Sylvia Riviera. Others claim it was Marsha Johnson.
Alexey Gorshkov, human rights activist: “The police, only 10 people, simply did not know what to do. People united. It was not the rebellion of one person, it was a massive outburst of rage. People rose up against police brutality. The policemen barricaded themselves in the club because the crowd had driven them inside. People started turning over police cars. ”
So in America, the gay revolution began. Cohesive LGBT organizations began to appear. In 1973, homosexuality was excluded from the list of mental illnesses. Really gay in the United States took in the 90s. In 2015, same-sex marriages were legalized throughout the country, and in 2019 the police finally apologized for Stonewall.
James O’Neill, New York City Police Commissioner: “I know for sure: what happened did not happen. New York Police took the wrong steps, rash. Acts and laws were discriminatory and cruel. And for that, I apologize. ”
Now the police are here, as in the guard of honor. Inside, in memory of the hot summer of 1969, photographs are exhibited, and Greenwich Village is buried in a rainbow. She’s on flags, banners, clothes.
In 2011, when New York became the sixth state to legalize same-sex marriages, Patrick was attacked in Queens. At Greenwich Village, everyone knows him.
Patrick: “That guy sneaked behind me and started beating me. What happened next, I do not really remember. When I woke up in the hospital, my skull was broken and my nose was broken, my legs were broken. I feel better now. ”
Mihkel Dikus, too, almost killed a few years ago. He says that a stranger sat down at the bar with him, started a heart-to-heart conversation, drank, and went to Mihkel’s house.
Mihkel Dikus: “He began to choke me. I could not move, began to choke and lose consciousness. I thought it was the end. But then he let me go and demanded money. ”
The euphoria of being alive quickly changed to post-traumatic syndrome. Mihkel thought that the attacker was tracking him down; for six years he went to a psychotherapist. Now helps other victims of attacks.
Mihkel Dikus: “Those who feel like a victim fall victim again if they do not receive the help they need. And some of them are beginning to look for a victim in order to recoup someone, to cause harm. So this circle closes. I tore it for myself. ”
Mihkel believes that it is necessary to talk about this, and not to make magnificent gay parades, which, with all the external effect, have become completely empty meaningfully. The “Stonewall” began as a rebellion, as another bright episode of the struggle for human rights in America. And today this is just a reason to arrange a carnival. This is sure Anthony Dolsey.
Anthony Dolsey : “Everything began to look like solid commerce. Politicians and celebrities come to us to shine in front of television cameras. But when real help is needed, they do nothing. As soon as the parade ends, they disappear.And we need them every day. We need them to talk about gay violence. This violence needs to stop. ”
But people who come to Pride parades think differently. For the LGBT community, these processions are a real triumph of freedom and a demonstration of simple truth: every tenth person on earth is born gay. Yesterday, most of them were hiding. These feathers, makeup and smiles were very difficult for everyone.
For a break in the consciousness and perception of the world, the most important thing, according to psychologists, is to see thousands, hundreds of thousands of people like you who have ceased to be afraid. However, it is also true that the parades pass, but the rejection in one degree or another remains.
Columbia University professor Paul Martin is sure: the problem is that society simply does not have time to digest the changes. From a prison term for homosexuality to legal same-sex marriage, it took only half a century.
Paul Martin, a professor at Columbia University: “One of the global shifts in public consciousness has happened. And gradually the idea of adopting children by gay couples got involved here. Once it was terrifying, but now it has become a routine. Not in every state, but at the national level it happened. ”
Happened, but not all. In the US, there is still no federal law on the inadmissibility of discrimination of LGBT people. In this too different country, where some idolize the Constitution, and others the Bible, approaching any of the poles, liberal or conservative, provokes a response. In the worst manifestations – violence, in the best – accurate political correct ignoring.
Elena : “The main thing is that this does not concern children, that’s all. Just if they do something there, let them do it in their gated community. If my son says that he is like this, I will never stop loving him. But with all of this, I would like it not to concern children a little now. ”
Arsen Low’s parents for seven years could not accept the idea that he was gay. But in the end he was accepted as he is. Anton did not begin to devote all his loved ones to his personal life.
Anton Lowe: “My grandmother is a religious Muslim. They have a lot of problems with that. ”
And here they have no problems, consider Arsen with Anton. New York is probably one of the most friendly cities in the world in relation to gays. Absolutely safe? Hardly. Ask Patrick, who spent three months in a coma and did not learn to walk in the eight years since the beating.
Patrick: “He said that when he gets out of prison, he will kill me.”
Patrick says he is not afraid. A sign is attached to his walker: “My spirit is wounded, but not broken.”