- September 25, 2013
Post submitted by Jane Thirikwa, HRC Global Engagement Fellow
The predominantly Muslim country of Azerbaijan held its first ever pride celebration with no arrests, reports of harassment or violence at the march, this past weekend. Though the campaigners covered their faces, the pro-LGBT marchers paraded through the capital city Baku, in what LGBT rights activists described as "a friendly atmosphere and without incidents.”
Although homosexuality was decriminalized in 2001, LGBT people in Azerbaijan still suffer oppression and harassment, and there is no legal protection against discrimination.
The event was organized by LGBT rights activist Ruslan Baluxin and a group of friends and included a so-called mini rally. 95% of Azerbaijanis are Muslim, mostly Shiite, like in neighboring Iran, which imposes the death penalty for homosexuality.
Rumors had been spread that an LGBT pride parade would take place in Azerbaijan during last year’s Eurovision Song Contest but the event never took place.