Dear Side by Side LGBT Film Festival organizers,
We are deeply saddened by the news of the threats that Side by Side LGBT Film Festival is facing right now under the strict and unjust Russian laws, and would like to express our solidarity to the LGBTQ communities in St. Petersburg, and all over Russia, as well as the organizers of the film festival.
As the organizers of an important LGBTQ Film Festival, the Budapest Pride Film Festival, we realize the significance and unchallengeable magnitude of an event like an LGBTQ film festival. For LGBTQ communities all over the world programs like these serve as important means to bring together communities, strengthen the identities of LGBTQ individuals, and raise awareness about the discriminations that LGBTQ persons still face globally every day.
We strongly condemn the way recent Russian laws are trying to demolish the freedom of speech and the works of NGOs all over the country. Organizing community events, and creating a safe place for open discussions are some of the most important tools to destroy oppression, homophobia and transphobia, and build an open, accepting environment for all individuals. If Side by Side Film Festival is undermined by threats and fines, the LGBTQ community is ripped of an indispensable forum and community experience.
Therefore, we, the organizers of the Budapest Pride Film Festival will show our strong support of the Side by Side Film Festival, and will use our own platforms to raise awareness of the difficulties and hardships you are facing.
Best of luck,