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How Europe’s Giant Song Contest Could Help Gay Pride

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As the world prepares for this weekend’s Eurovision Song Contest — where each nation submits one song and competes, American Idol-style, for votes, — it’s also preparing for a showdown between Russian authorities and gay pride organizers, who plan on marching Saturday despite a ban from Moscow, which is also hosting Eurovision. And just as pride organizers hoped, timing the march with the global stage of Eurovision is highlighting their plight on a global scale.

The Netherlands may louse up the Eurovision Song Concert if Moscow’s authorities block the gay pride parade which is planned to take place in Moscow on May 16 – the day of the Eurovision Final. The position of The Toppers was supported by the Dutch Minister of Education, Ronald Plasterk, Novie Izvestia daily reports. “If violence takes place, I will immediately leave for the Netherlands,” Gordon, front man of The Toppers, says. The other two singers from The Toppers trio have also said that their reaction will depend on whether the Moscow gay parade will be interrupted or not. [Russia Today]

How does all the attention help organizers? Theoretically, international pressure on Russia would shame them into permitting the parade, but the Kremlin-controlled Moscow isn’t exactly known for caring what anyone else thinks. There’s also the attention it will bring to gay activists’ claim that’s in front of the European Court, which is asking for $1 million in compensation for Moscow’s discrimination.