On May 17th 2009 - the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO), gays, lesbians, their friends, close relatives and colleagues in dozen of Russian cities and worldwide have simultaneously launched into the sky rainbow air-balloons with messages inside. As we had informed earlier, this Rainbow flash was intended to be "the lightest" action of that day.
A map of cities, participants of the Rainbow flash
A wide public and mass-media response have got the events in Saint-Petersburg. There more than 200 people came out to the central city’s street - Nevskiy avenue. But it is not the only action. In Khabarovsk 27 people gathered near city’s "Cliff" over Amur river. "The police were informed about the action and behaved correctly. 6-10 militia men were always not far away from the place of meeting", report guys in their internet blog, dedicated to this gay action in Khabarovsk. A group of 10 people launched into the sky of Kazan-city rainbow air-balloons. Passers-by accepted that event in a very friendly and favourable manner. In Yekaterinburg, the Russian Orthodox Church paid much attention to Rainbow flash in that city. Masked men by surprise attacked gay action’s participants in the Central park of Yekaterinburg. In spite of that assault 50 air-balloons managed to escape gay-hate action and were launched into the sky. Local TV programme aired that event. Some homophobes in Izhevsk tried to disrupt the launching of the rainbow air-balloons on that city’s central square, but luckily there was no clash. Air-balloons with messages inside them got into the sky in several places of Moscow at the same time. The groups were not big in Moscow but almost in every capital’s district were seen rainbow colour air-balloons in the spring sky. In Tomsk passers-by were given stickers "Tomsk is against homophobia". Balloons flew into the sky near city’s places of interest - Chekhov monument on the embankment and famous "pregnant woman" adored by almost every just married couple of that city. About 30 people came out to the streets in Rostov-on-Don. The action escaped any violent action. Balloons got into the sky in Bryansk over the Barrow of Immortality.
In neighbouring countries Rainbow flash took place in Minsk (Byelorussia). The action was organised by Labrys, an initiative group, and summed up the campaign "A month against gay-hate in Byelorussia".
The internet site of the Rainbow flash continues to receive information on similar gay actions from different cities across the immense Russian Federation and the CIS. Using the interactive map you can get an idea about the scope of on-going gay activities in Russia. And one could make first analysis. On May 17th, 2009 Russian gays and lesbians at the same time held the first ever in the Russian history unanimous gay action. We realised that it was a success even without huge organising committees ad hoc and publicity. The mass-media showed itself to be gay-friendly, if not just neutral. It’s only the dawn of a new era.
Translated by Yerdna Bananes