Sunday, 6 July 2008

Independent: No PN representation at this year’s Gay Pride?

The Nationalist Party is set to face mounting pressure from the gay community if none of its politicians attend Saturday's Gay Pride March, particularly since politicians from both Alternattiva Demokratika and the Malta Labour Party have already confirmed participation in the event.

Gabi Calleja, spokesperson for the Malta Gay Rights Movement (MGRM) told The Malta Independent on Sunday that AD spokesman Arnold Cassola and Labour MP Evarist Bartolo have announced their intention to attend the Gay Pride March.

AD spokesman for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender/transsexual LGBT) issues Patrick Attard – the first declared gay candidate to contest a general election in Malta (he contested this year's election), and the only LGBT spokesman for a political party – also said he will be attending the March.

The PN information office had failed to confirm, up to the time of going to print, whether any politicians from the Nationalist Party are expected to attend.

The PN already has some unresolved matters with the gay community, particularly after Nationalist MEPs Simon Busuttil and David Casa abstained on yet another European directive aimed at combating discrimination on 20 May.

The European Parliament's report called on the European Commission to adhere to its commitment to propose a "comprehensive directive" to combat any discrimination in access to goods and services on grounds of sex, race, religion, disability, age or sexual orientation.

The report, which also demands effective sanctions and support for victims, was adopted with 362 votes in favour, 262 against and 56 abstentions.

The MGRM said the Nationalist MEPs have consistently shown a lack of commitment towards achieving equality for all citizens in the EU.

In a statement issued following the 20 May vote, the movement said: "This is despite the fact that, in a meeting the MGRM held prior to the general election, the PN representatives, which included Simon Busuttil, stated that they would not object to an EU anti-discrimination directive granting protection in the provision of goods and services."

The MGRM spokesperson said former PN minister Louis Galea, who is now Speaker of the House, has participated in the annual event a couple of times.

Should the PN fail to attend this year's Gay Pride March, it will be reaffirming its resolutely conservative stance at a time when gay issues are at the forefront of public debate.

Even new Labour leader Joseph Muscat has been speaking openly about the importance of establishing some form of civil partnerships for gay couples, although he has stopped short of going into further detail.

AD, on the other hand, is the only political party that has openly declared itself to be in favour of same-sex civil partnerships, and was the first political party to appoint a political spokesman for LGBT issues.

The MGRM hopes to attract a greater number of participants this year, particularly young LGBTs, with the support of promoters of gay events and gay venues, said Ms Calleja.

Participation in all four past Gay Pride Marches has varied between 75 and 100 people, and these included both LGBTs and supporters of LGBT rights.

The MGRM spokesperson said the movement is aware that many LGBTs may not feel comfortable "coming out" in the media and this is always a problem with Pride, since visibility is one of the main objectives.

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"Diverscity" Week 7 – 13 July


"Live, Love, Be" is the theme for this year's Diversity Week (7-13 July), which includes the LGBT film festival, the WomenSpace event and the Pride March and street party.

This year's events are aimed at calling on all LGBT individuals to live their identities with pride and to rejoice in who they are without fear or shame.

The LBGT film festival will be held on 8, 10 and 11 July at St James Cavalier at 9pm. The films to be screened are The Gymnast, Breakfast on Pluto and Outing Riley, which have lesbian, "trans" and gay themes respectively.

The WomenSpace event will take place on Wednesday at Golden Bay from 8pm onwards. This event is exclusively for women and includes poetry reading, music and food. It is one of the more popular events of the week and generally attracts around 100 participants.

The Gay Pride March will take place on Saturday at Bay Street at 9.30pm. This year, MGRM has teamed up with Klozet Club, QQ Events, Stanyer Creations, Underworld, Station 2 Station and SaModa, to put together a festival that will be held after the march.

The festival includes a fashion show by SAModa and a number of drag shows, as well as performances by renowned artistes such as Ira Losco, Olivia Lewis, Miriam Cristine Borg, Glenn and Pamela.

The MGRM is inviting all LGBT individuals, their family and friends to participate in the activities, which provide an opportunity to enjoy LGBT culture, raise awareness and increase visibility of the LGBT community.

The activities are being held with the support of GO, Where's Everybody and the EU campaign "For Diversity Against Discrimination".

More information on Diversity Week can be obtained from, or by texting/calling MGRM on 9925-5559, or sending an email to

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