Baltic Pride is an annual LGBT pride parade rotating in turn between the capitals of the Baltic states; Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius. It is held in support of raising issues of tolerance and the rights of sexual minorities and is supported by ILGA-Europe.
Following public manifestations of homophobia surrounding the first event in 2005, some members of the LGBT community, their friends, and family members united to found the organisation Mozaīka (Mosaic), in an attempt to improve the understanding of and tolerance for LGBT rights in Latvia.
From 2006, the event was officially known as Riga Pride and Friendship Days, expanding the programme beyond a parade to include an ecumenical church service at St. Saviour's Anglican Church, and seminars on tolerance and LGBT rights. It was significantly disrupted by protesters from "No Pride", among other groups. The European Parliament expressed its disappointment at the failure of Latvian authorities to adequately protect the parade.
In 2009 the march was allowed by the Administrative Court of Riga. It was the first to be called Baltic Pride and began a rotation annually between each Baltic state capital in cooperation with the Lithuanian Gay League, the Estonian LGBT Association (until 2012 known as Estonian Gay Youth) and their local Pride events.
Over the years, the event has been threatened by protests. In 2006, Riga City Council at first tried to refuse permission for the Pride Parade. Similar political debates surrounded the first Pride Parade in 2005.
The LGBT community in Latvia has been divided in its attitudes to the event. In a February 2007 survey of 537 LGBT persons by ILGA-Latvija, 82% of respondents said they were not in favour of holding the planned Riga Pride and Friendship Days 2007, while only 7% felt that these events would help promote tolerance towards sexual minorities. ILGA-Latvija, however, has since changed its stance and now is positive towards the Riga Pride and Friendship Days.
The parade took place in Vilnius in 2010 and 2013. The 2010 event was the first public pride march organised in Lithuania.
Pride parades have been organised since 2004 in Tallinn. The city hosted Baltic Pride in 2011 and 2014.
- "Latvia gay pride given go-ahead". BBC News. 22 July 2005.
- "Protests disrupt Latvia gay march", bbc.co.uk, 23 July 2005.
- Mozaīka English-language homepage
- Latvia: Promote Equality, Investigate Attacks on LGBT Pride Activists From Human Rights Watch (accessed 16 June 2015).
- Riga Pride 2007 – Championing equal rights. From Amnesty International (accessed 9 June 2015).
- New exhibition documents homophobia at Riga Pride. From Pink News website (accessed 9 June 2015).
- Gays Without Borders: Baltic Pride Saved After Court Lifts Council Ban
- First Baltic Pride will be celebrated in Riga next year. From Pink News website (accessed 9 June 2015).
- Gay Pride marches on. From Baltic Times website (accessed 9 June 2015).
- "News of the Day From Across the World". San Francisco Chronicle. 3 June 2012. p. A6.
- Liveblog: EuroPride 2015 in Riga. From Latvijas Sabiedriskais medijs (accessed 21 June 2015).
- ILGA-Latvia Survey Working Group, poll conducted 1-28 February 2007. From ILGA-Latvia website (Latvian) (accessed 13 May 2007).
- Eesti LGBT Ühing Estonia official website
- Mozaīka Latvia official website
- LGL Lithuania official website
- News video from Riga Pride and Friendship Days 2008, including protests (Latvian)