St Petersburg recently passed a law that effectively bans any public discussion of LGBT issues, or events that are seen to ‘promote’ gay rights, including gay pride events.
Manchester is twinned with St Petersburg and the city council travelled to Russia in March to celebrate the cities friendship, where they pleaded with Russian officials to veto the planned law.
Manchester Pride organisers are now asking attendees to send a text message to 86099 with the word PRIDE and their name and location. These messages will be passed to gay rights groups in the Russian city.
One of Russia’s leading gay activists will also be attending Manchester Pride weekend. Polina Savchenko is one of the directors of Coming Out; a St Petersburg based LGBT group.
Savchenko will address people from the main stage and meet festival goers to explain how she plans to stage a similar festival in St Petersburg, despite the oppressive law in place in the city.