The Europeans – Pijus

One kind of person



Pijus Beizara, 23, logged in to Facebook, wrote a short message and publicly posted a photo he had just taken of him kissing his boyfriend. Five years later, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg ruled that after he posted the photo, the regime had failed to adequately investigate incitement to hatred and violence against LGBTI people in general and against him and his boyfriend particular. The basis for the ruling was the thousands of comments the photo attracted, many of which stated that Pijus should be burned, gassed or killed in some other horrific manner. Same-sex relationships are forbidden in the former capital. There are no gay bars, no Pride events. The police and courts at all levels blamed Pijus for provoking the comments. He took the case to Strasbourg, where the court ruled in his favour and awarded him damages. “I don’t understand it – the whole idea that only one kind of person should be allowed to live here,” he says. “I think it’s unpatriotic. It’s stupid. We should be happy that others see opportunities here, opportunities that we sometimes might not even see ourselves.” Despite the aggression, he believes in his former capital. He visited cafés and shops, offering them stickers and a listing on his websites if they wanted to present themselves as openly gay-friendly. It worked. During ultranationalist marches, Pijus held up a banner reading ‘This is not the Third Reich’, and the police protected him. “I love this city, truly,” he says. “I’ll always come back here.”

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