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Sochi Pride 2014 named grand marshal for Palm Springs Pride

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. -- Greater Palms Springs Pride today said that Sochi Pride 2014 has been named the grand marshal of the 27th annual Pride Parade.

Sochi Pride was selected to demonstrate solidarity with the LGBT community in Russia and raise awareness of the increasing anti-gay atmosphere of discrimination and harassment of the LGBT community in the Russian Federation.

With the recognition of Sochi Pride, Greater Palm Springs Pride organizers invite Pride organizations from around the world to stand together in a shared vision of equality for all people and march for equality at Sochi Pride scheduled to occur on the opening day of the Winter Olympic Games on Feb. 7, 2014. Sochi Pride will be a march to display worldwide unity against homophobia in Russia.

"We will lend our support to the organizing committee of Moscow Gay Pride and founders of the banned Pride House Sochi in their efforts to organize the Sochi Pride march," said Ron deHarte president of Palm Springs Pride. "We invite any and all who share this vision to gather with us and keep the world's eyes focused on Russian's crimes against LGBT individuals."

There has been a long-running history of violence against gays in Russia.

Russia's anti-gay laws are perpetuating a state of homophobia against an entire class of its citizens. Recently the circumstances worsened when President Vladimir Putin signed a law that bans the "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations" and imposes hefty fines for providing "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations" to minors.

Last year Moscow's top court ruled that no gay pride parades may be held in Moscow for one hundred years. Charges may also be brought against individuals using the media or internet to promote "non-traditional relations."

Foreign citizens arrested under the laws can be detained, fined and then deported. These anti-gay laws enacted by a supportive government not only
deny fundamental human rights to Russia's LGBT citizens they threaten the well-being of thousands of athletes and visitors participating in the
Winter Olympics.

When an Olympics host country considers many of the participating athletes and attendees criminals because they are gay something must be done. Activists have called on a boycott of the Winter Olympics whose very location in Sochi is a tacit endorsement of intolerance. The growing controversy is helping to put a spotlight on government-sanctioned homophobia and bring pressure against the Russian government. Others speaking out are calling on the International Olympic Committee to move the Sochi Games to Vancouver. In Russia, activists have called on the United States to deny visas to high-ranking Russian government officials and they are organizing Sochi Pride on the Winter Olympics Opening Day as a way to raise awareness of gay-rights and expose the government's anti-human rights actions to the world's media.

Action is needed now to ensure the safety of all athletes and travelers as well as our fellow LGBT brothers and sisters in Russia.

"We have a responsibility to fight for the inherent worth and dignity of every person not only locally but globally. We will be there to support Sochi Pride in their effort to draw attention to the government-sponsored homophobia in Russia and in their struggle to achieve full legal equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals," deHarte said.

About Greater Palm Springs Pride

Greater Palm Springs Pride (pspride.org) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit community enhancement organization founded to promote the public education and public awareness of individual rights and civil liberties of the LGBT community. Established in 1986 the organization continues to serve as a catalyst for celebrating the strength, equality, dignity and self-determination of the LGBT community locally and globally.

"It's Time" is theme for the 2013 Palm Springs Pride Celebration scheduled for Nov. 1-3. For information about upcoming events and volunteer
opportunities visit the website.