WorldPride Human Rights Conference: Masha Gessen

Joshua Freeman CP24 rainbow flag gay pride
Image by Joshua Freeman/CP24

Montrealers celebrated their second Pride festival this past weekend. Fierté, the second stanza in Montreal’s Pride festival, which followed right on the coat-tails of Divers Cite which ended on July 3rd. Unfortunately Nudabite&co were unable attend the various local festivities this year, but we felt it would be appropriate to share a rather inspiring video from the WorldPride Human Rights Conference.

This years edition of WorldPride was the 4th internationally and the first ever WorldPride to be held in North America. It provided an opportunity for a global dialogue about LGBTI human rights.  The WPHRC featured some inspiring keynote speakers from around the globe who brought  their stories and experiences which were nothing short of moving. Approximately 400 delegates (including 180 speakers) flew in from more than 50 countries around the world. Russia, Uganda, Taiwan, Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of Congo all had representatives present for this global event.

A few of the speakers in attendance:

Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir: Iceland’s first female prime minister in 2009 and the first world’s openly lesbian head of state.

Edith Windsor: whose bravery and activism led to the U.S. Supreme Court to declare the federal Defence of Marriage Act unconstitutional in 2013.

Dr. Frank Mugisha: a prominent LGBT activist in Uganda.

Monica Mbaru: a senior judge and long-time activist in Kenya.


Now while all of the talks were equally inspiring, one really stood out for Nudabite’s founder Jes Nudo. It was given by Russian-American activist and journalist Masha Gessen.

Gessen’s devotion, dedication and compassion for LBGTQ equality in Russia remain unparalleled. Masha Gessen is the author of several books, including The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin and her most recent Words Will Break Cement: The Passion of Pussy Riot.



Given canada’s (tolerance or acceptance) towards same sex marriage and gay rights – it begs the question: do we still really need gay pride in Canada?

If you’ve been keeping up with current events (or you know, have a Facebook account) you’ll know that this tolerance is not a luxury that is extended to the LGBTQ community overseas. On a local level gay bashing still remains an issue to this day in Canada and the U.S, so it’s clear that there is a strong need.

A saddening example of this need came to us in the weeks leading up to WorldPride, when the Canadian government denied visas to delegates from Uganda, fearing that they would claim amnesty, from prosecution in their country, upon arrival. Luckily, thanks to the power of social media the visas were granted and all was well in the end. So all this to say, yes, we still need pride! In fact, we need more than just pride – the programs offered at this year’s WorldPride should be integrated into every gay pride across the world. People need to be educated, because ignorance is the enemy and it perpetuates hatred (well, far more than just ignorance, but to give you a brief idea).

One love.




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