Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Independent: DiversCITY Week 2009 to celebrate dignity in diversity


The Malta Gay Rights Movement (MGRM) is organising a series of activities to celebrate DiversCITY Week 2009 from tomorrow until Saturday – the highlight of which is expected to be the Pride March 2009 on Saturday, starting at 10am at City Gate, Valletta.

Calling on the public to participate in Saturday’s event, the MGRM asks: “Why should anyone, straight or gay, participate in this year’s Pride March? Why risk ridicule and exposure? What does it matter if lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students are bullied in our schools? Why worry if ‘coming out’ at the place of work is not yet safe? Who cares about all those LGBT individuals in the 80 or so countries around the world where homosexuality is still criminalised? Why be concerned about all the trans women all over the world who are victims of violence?”

The Pink Singers, a London based gay and lesbian choir, and the Young Christian Workers Choir, Symphonik, might seem an unlikely partnership to many, yet they have come together for a joint concert on Saturday at the City Theatre in Valletta as part of the this year’s DiversCITY week activities.

The idea came about thanks to Andrew, a young gay Maltese man who joined the Pink Singers choir following his move to London some years ago and who had friends in both MGRM and Zghazagh Haddiema Nsara (ZHN).

Personal relationships and friendships between gay and straight have been shown to reduce the incidence of homophobia, as myths and stereotypes crumble. In this case they also demonstrate that religious beliefs are not an automatic route to intolerance and that solidarity and understanding are possible.

This year’s WomenSpace, an event exclusively for women that celebrates the lives of sexual minority women, will be held at the Gaia Foundation in Ghajn Tuffieha, on Wednesday from 8pm onwards.

The LGBT Film Festival, meanwhile, will once again be held at St James Cavalier and will open the DiversCITY Week. The films to be screened on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday are Ma Vie en Rose, I Can’t Think Straight and Bent.

MGRM invites the public to join in all the celebrations of diversity, and to support the LGBT struggle for dignity, equality and justice.

It reminds the public of the eternal words of June Callwood (1924-2007), dubbed the conscience of Canada, who once said: “If any of you happens to see an injustice, you are no longer a spectator, you are a participant. And you have an obligation to do something”.

MGRM is a national working group member of the European Commission’s For Diversity Against Discrimination (FDAD) campaign, a communication campaign promoting diversity and better information about discrimination rights throughout Europe.

For more information log on to www.stop-discrimination.info and www.maltagayrights.org.

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