According to Romanita Iordache, president of the association, “the adoption of legislation in this sense represents a decisive step for asserting equal rights for all citizens.”
GayFest included a series of events starting with debates on gay rights issues, a film festival, photo exhibitions, theater and parties. The highlight of the festival was, as in previous years, the GayPride parade on the last day of the event. The march was expected to bring in a participation of 1,000 people including groups from Germany, Canada and the United States. Moreover, organizers also hoped for the participation of representatives of the European Parliament. The march followed the same route as last year through Decebal Blvd-Unirii Square-Constitutiei Square-Libertatii Blvd and closing at Izvor Park.
Last year, GayPride was strewn with violence and Buhuceanu said only the prompt intervention of the security forces kept things from getting severely out of hand. People on the sidewalk or in the balconies threw stones and eggs at the participants in the march. After the parade came to a close and participants dispersed, six of them were attacked and beaten between the Izvor and Piata Unirii subway stations by a group of young attackers, without any of the passengers intervening in the scuffle. Over a year since the incidents occurred, the attackers have not yet been identified even though there was footage of them and the association collaborated fully with the authorities. “The police station that was dealing with the case was closed and the case moved to another police station,” according to Florentina Bocioc, ACCEPT Executive Manager.
However, the relations with authorities has improved considerably, said the representatives of the association, mentioning the tight security which ensured the overall safety of the gay activists last year. Moreover, there were cases in which the authorities punished several incidents of discrimination in the workplace.
GayFest got off to a bitter start at the end of May when the ACCEPT association sent an open letter to the Ministry of Public Health concerning “the discriminatory nature” of regulations concerning information disclosed by blood donors and the admissibility criteria for donors which “come into conflict with standards set by international organizations and the National Council for the Prevention of Discrimination,” the letter stated. The missive protested against an order of the Ministry of Public Health and contested the criteria according to which men who had sexual relations with other men as well as women whose male partners had sexual relations with the same sex are ruled out from donating blood.
Moreover, just a day after the beginning of the festival, two men were attacked by a group of eight. The attackers followed them after they left the cinema where the GayFest film festival was taking place and hit one of them. The gendarmes intervened and arrests were made. The two men who were attacked submitted complaints at the police.