MONTREAL — Legal restrictions on homosexuals in Russia were denounced by Ga’ava, a Montreal Jewish LGBTQ group, during Montreal’s annual gay pride parade on Aug. 18.
“The Jewish community of Quebec is largely composed of the descendants of Jews who were forced to flee Nazi and Soviet antisemitism in Europe and Russia. Today, it is LGBTQ people who are targeted by a hateful and homophobic law of the Russian government,” Ga’ava vice-president Justin Margolis said in a statement.
The new Russian law does not respect human rights or the humanist vision of Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the modern Olympics, Margolis said, referring to Russia’s hosting of the Winter Olympics in Sochi next year.
Ga’ava said its participation in the downtown parade was solidarity with the LGBTQ community in Russia, and it called for the Russian government to repeal its ban on gay activism.
About 60 people marched along René Lévesque Boulevard with the contingent from Ga’ava (Hebrew for pride), wearing distinctive t-shirts featuring a Star of David on the rainbow flag symbolic of the LGBT community.
Ga’ava had invited any friend of the organization to join them.
Its participation was supported by the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), which also denounced the Russian legislation as homophobic and called for its repeal.
“Throughout history, Jews have often known persecution because of their origin and for being different,” CIJA said in a statement. “This historic memory instills in Jews a constant vigilance against any form of discrimination.”
Members of Temple Emanu-El-Beth Sholom officially took part, carrying the congregation’s banner.