A little piece of UK gay history was made when the British Ambassador to Latvia, Richard Moon ordered the Rainbow Flag to be flown at the Embassy on Saturday to mark Riga Pride and Friendship Days.
It is thought that this might be the first occasion that a Rainbow Flag has been flown from a British embassy anywhere in the world.
“The British Government totally supports LGBT rights in Europe and throughout the world,” Mr. Moon said as he raised the flag. “And this support is 24/7, 365 days a year — and not just for Pride.”
There was a high turnout from embassy staff who joined Clair, a lesbian from Brighton, and Liga Klavina, a lesbian athlete who represented Latvia at the Sydney Olympics, for that typically British institution, afternoon tea.
Mr. Moon said that the high turnout by staff “underlined the sincerity and degree of support from Embassy staff, both British and Latvian.”
The flag will remain over the Riga Embassy before being taken to Warsaw at the weekend in the hope that it might fly from the British Embassy there for Warsaw Pride on Saturday.
Mozaika, the Riga Pride organising committee, has received significant support from the British and other Embassies with ambassadors from UK, Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands attending a Pride Reception on Friday.
The idea to fly the flag follows a rumour heard during Riga Pride last year 2007 that a rainbow flag was flying over the British Embassy — a rumour which cannot be verified.
The rumour reached the ears of UK Green Party MEP Carolyn Lucas who wrote to Foreign Secretary David Miliband requesting that the Rainbow Flag should fly from the British Embassy of every capital city in Europe on the day of the capitals’ Prides, especially those in the Eastern European “accession states” and those places where Prides are under pressure.
Riga Pride 2008 on Saturday was deemed a success, with the parade held in the historically significant 11 November Embankment, which, in 1991, was the focus of the ‘human chain’ made up of hundreds of thousands calling for freedom from the then Soviet Union.
As many Pride speeches reminded those on 11 November Embankment, this human chain included lesbians, gay, bisexual and transgender people who are still waiting for the freedoms that other people now take for granted.