The Malta LGBTIQ Rights Movement (MGRM) understands the concerns raised by individuals and organisations regarding the government’s position on abortion. On behalf of our committee and our members, we attended and spoke at the Parliamentary Committee against the proposed amended Bill 28 on Monday afternoon. Mere hours later we attended a EuroPride announcement at Castille Square. The irony is not lost on us. In fact, that our participation in EuroPride-related events would raise questions in the circumstances is not a surprise, since it is also a dilemma we have also faced internally.
We feel that withdrawing from EuroPride would not be a productive strategy in our efforts to promote change and advancements of human rights. EuroPride is a platform that can be utilised to create spaces for critical discussions and apply pressure on governments to address a range of pressing human rights issues.
At this juncture we will repeat a clarification we have made many times before. MGRM is not an organiser of EuroPride, which is not to say that we wash our hands of any responsibility. In fact we plan to actively participate in the event and support the Allied Rainbow Communities (ARC) fully with respect to this important event. When ARC approached us to ask if we were willing to support their bid for Europride 2023, we were, and remain glad to do so. This however adds to the responsibility which we feel we owe ARC, their members, and our own members. Pulling out now risks the success of the hard work which volunteers within our community have put into this event, and that would be completely contrary to what we stand for.
Pride is and will always be a protest against injustice and inequality. Pride does not belong to the government or any other entity. It does not belong to us or any of the NGOs. It is a platform that belongs to the community, championing solidarity, inclusivity, and progress of our community. By maintaining our presence at EuroPride, we can continue to challenge the government’s positions on various issues, including abortion, and push for a positive change.
Throughout our 22-year history, we have never hesitated to speak out against infringements of human rights. Our recent alliance with the Voice for Choice coalition demonstrates our unwavering commitment to challenging the status quo on reproductive rights. This is in addition to our advocacy with respect to inclusion, education, sexual health, anti-discrimination in the provision of goods and services, sex workers’ rights, pinkwashing, asylum seekers, migrants, and refugees. We will not compromise on either of these principles which we feel strongly about.
We will ensure that our participation in EuroPride, like in every Pride March before it ever since our first march in 2004, will serve to raise awareness and advocate for a comprehensive range of rights, including reproductive rights at a local and international level. The community dialogues we have planned, and every discussion we will chair will be a platform through which we demand accountability and foster meaningful dialogue. All our planned events focus on the creation of safe spaces that are completely free, accessible, inclusive, and which act as a platform for dialogue and conversation on various topics, including abortion and reproductive rights.
We remain open to criticism and suggestions that help us grow and mature, whilst appreciating the ongoing support of our members and our allies.