Poster with a text by Liviu Pop in the frame of the project Land of human rights by Rotor, Graz.
Being Afraid and Being YourselfBy Liviu Pop
Very often the unknown is instinctively perceived as evil. Minorities are often victims of this mental association simply because their differences are away from what we are used to and what we know. The way we acquire knowledge is finding the similarities with something already familiar and the small differences of the new situation. Sometimes these new differences bring fear if not understood properly.
A few hours before the Gay Pride parade, which took place in Bucharest on July 9, 2007, another parade marched through the streets of the city, one in which people who were afraid of the unknown were exhibiting their so called moral standards. One cannot ignore that in the name of a religion that promotes love among all human beings, they refused the humanity of those who weren’t similar to them. The relation between the ones protesting against the Gay Pride Parade and the church was obvious: religious icons and slogans like "We are orthodox. Romania is not Sodom" were carried by the protesters. Even more, orthodox priests wearing the cross and religious icons were praying and marching aside the crowd. The representatives of the high hierarchy of the Orthodox Church publicly announced that they will "pray for the return to normality" of the sexual minorities.
The small difference regarding sexual lifestyle was enough for the Christians to perceive gay and lesbian people as totally different from them. It is ironic that this comes from a religion which started out as a minority and faced the same reactions from the majority of those times.
The violence that took place a few hours later, against the participants of the Gay Pride march was entitled by the same “Christian moral standards” exhibited by the anti-gay protesters and by the public affirmations of the Orthodox Church representatives.One of the arguments against the civil marriage of gay couples is that they shouldn’t have special rights. It’s obvious that they are not asking for special rights, but for the same rights that the majority has. We are living in a secular state in which the religious laws are not binding for society. And they are not asking for the Orthodox Church’s approval, they are asking for civil rights.