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Gay politician slams Zurich Pride Festival

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Gay politician slams Zurich Pride Festival
Participant at past Zurich Pride Festival checks out boots worn by drag queens. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/File
11:57 CEST+02:00
Avowed homosexual Jean-Claude Carreira, of the Young Swiss People's Party (JSVP), is slamming the annual Zurich Pride Festival for giving gays a bad name.

The week-long festival, getting under way on Friday night, is a celebration for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, involving a parade through downtown streets, a rally, a party and various cultural events.

Zurich Pride traditionally celebrates achievements against discrimination and lobbies for changes such as gay and lesbian adoption rights.

But Carreira, an activist with the right-wing SVP, charges that the festival is counter-productive because it exacerbates stereotypes about gays, particularly the party set for Saturday.

“Most of it is not about the rally, but the wild partying, the half-naked bodies and the alcohol consumption,” Carreira told Tagblatt, a Zurich online news site.

While the event aims to spread tolerance the result is the exact opposite, he said.

“How can you blame people who do not trust homosexuals to be good parents when they only celebrate parties and cause (damage),” he told 20 Minuten.

“From the TV you know gays as birds of paradise, who dress in flashy costumes and party a lot,” Carreira said.

“The Zurich Pride Festival does nothing to change that image.”

He said gays should become more actively politically if they want to create change.

Alan Sangines, vice-president of the festival, hotly disputed Carreira’s assertions.

“Carreira’s statements are complete nonsense,” Sangines told Tagblatt.

“The festival is extremely important in order to get attention for the political concerns of lesbians and gays,” he said.

“This is still necessary because there is only registered partnerships and no (legal) marriage for homosexuals, no adoption law and no discrimination protection (in Switzerland),” he said.

“As long as there are homophobic attacks, we have not reached absolute equality.”

Sangines rejected the idea that the festival is giving a bad image to homosexuals.

Heterosexuals are not discriminated against when they are dancing in the Street Parade, he noted, referring to Zurich’s annual techno party.

The theme of this year’s Pride Festival is “All families matter.”

The festival, which began in 1994 under a different name, has become an entrenched part of the Zurich scene, attracting tourists from across Europe.

The event has also attracted major sponsors, such as Credit Suisse, which uses the slogan “everybody matters at the workplace” in its advertising on the festival’s website.

Official Zurich Pride Festival 2013 Video Trailer | Cut Two | from Zurich Pride on Vimeo.

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