WeHo Rally Against Russian Homophobia Ends with a Little Drama

Nir Zilberman is overcome near the end the march. (Photo by Matt Baume)
Nir Zilberman is overcome near the end the march. (Photo by Matt Baume)

The first West Hollywood street rally in protest of anti-gay laws in Russia since the controversial dumping of fake Stoli in the gutters last August was small but equally dramatic.

Tonight’s event began simply enough, with about 30 people gathered at the LA Jock store at 7992 Santa Monica Blvd. near Laurel to hear Nir Zilberman, the store’s owner and the organizer of the rally, speak. Zilberman, an Israeli Jew who has said he lost grandparents to the Nazi Holocaust, teared up as he spoke. Zilberman has likened the persecution of gay people in Russia to the Nazi persecution of Jews.

Others present included gay event promoter Jeffrey Sanker, who thanked the crowd for coming; Steve Martin, the former West Hollywood city council member; ¬†Lucas John Junkin, the party promoter and publisher of WeHo Confidential, who is a candidate in the 2015 West Hollywood City Council race; and entertainer Kitten Kay Sera (the “Pink Lady of Hollywood”), and Robert Gamboa, co-chair of the city’s Lesbian and Gay Advisory Board. Kris Searle performed for the group.

Zilberman then led the group on a short march down the sidewalk, with a Fox 11 television camera in tow and Sheriff’s Department deputies escorting, until he seemed to faint. Zilberman fell to his knees, and deputies and marchers helped him onto his back while a deputy radioed for paramedics. Shortly after the paramedics arrived, Zilberman was on his feet, saying he had been overcome by emotion.

There will be other events, all timed around the beginning tomorrow of the XXVIII Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, through Monday.

  1. I went to this Rally that happened in the rain.

    I was compelled strongly after seeing all the images of violence against the #lgbt community coming out on public record in video right now.
    It is unacceptable in my mind to sit quietly and let gays be beaten up, harassed, tricking into meetings where they are video taped and tortured.
    As well as permitting a law declaring a rainbow flag unlawful and trying to suppress them by saying they are propaganda.

    This is a dark point in our worlds history and as a community and myself as a gay man I can not sit quietly while it happens.

    As ACT UP said many years ago SILENCE EQUALS DEATH

    I also find it concerning that a local weho business owner that has used his commercial space to rally support for HUMAN RIGHTS is be questioned about his agenda?

    Seriously what biz owner has the courage to use their space to fight for the human conditions in Russia?
    Does anyone really believe is not a big risk to bring social discussion into a place of biz?
    To me it’s courageous and respectable!

    It really bothers me that some individuals want to drive the bus over NIR.

    The real issue is gays are being beaten, abused, humiliated, intimidated and left in a state of fear in hiding in RUSSIA in 2014. And there abuse is left un-prosecuted by the Russian authorities in most cases allowing the violence to continue with no lawful price to pay by those who inflict it.As well as any simple like rain bow flags can not be displaced in public under the ruse that this would influence children in evil sexual ways?
    It is on the books is a vague law that spins it all as defense of propaganda against children. This is a disgrace.
    And I for one want to say right here right now, this isn’t about NIR and its irresponsible in my mind to dodge the dirty human rights conditions in Russia right now over the who, what and whys of the messenger.

    The point in my mind is the message has to be heard by the world community and the residents of weho

    I for one could not live a life of apathy or look myself in the mirror as a gay man and just say, well that’s someone else government, or problem or that’s too controversial to talk about.

    So add me to the log, the record, the public discussion that this is WRONG in Russia and the law needs to be repealed immediately, violence on any citizen in Russia even if there gay should be investigated by the police and the perpetrator brought to just in a clear and open trial.

    And the displaying of rainbow flags needs to be allowed to happen now in RUSSIA!

    In my opinion the world, the USA and weho need more individuals like NIR who take courageous stands to advocate for the human condition of others.

    Here is the video record of the abuse of gay men right now here in Russia

    Follow The Link

    Russia: Gay Men Beaten on Camera – YouTube http://ow.ly/tpsAP

  2. the plight of gay people who are oppressed anywhere in the world is sad and to be considered, but this topic is a bit played out.
    really, millions of jews killed in the holocaust, lenin, stalin and mao killed tens of millions of their own people…it goes on and on, and they expect proper treatment of people who are gay?
    this town is becoming a joke with all of the cast offs and misfits who love to hear themselves talk and fret, but offer NO constructive solutions.
    everybody knows it’s george bush’s fault.

    when do we pour vodka into the storm drains that hit the bay, again? lights, cameras, smiles, action…

  3. Yup. All about him.

    But should we be surprised in the land of Kardashians and reality show wannabes that someone would piggy back on an important human rights cause to bring attention to themselves.

  4. please the rally was not about me, 1000’s of people around the world support our RALLY, it was all about love. the store was all covered in black with posters of heroes. the screen was playing videos of our friends, gay men and women in Russia and in WWII.
    it was all about “one voice” one single can create a war and one single person can make peace. life is a game and a choice to LOVE or HATE.
    last night we show the world that love=life. silence=death.
    you do not need to be a move star to be a leader, just follow you heart, we al WIN.
    im not sur way this pics is even display here this was about people they care for people.
    thank you for all the amazing emails, the text and all your support. this is just the start of
    you will hear a lot about me and our people the can not have a voice, i will be they VOICE.
    in israel and most countries gay pride was very small come to ISRAEL and see what one single person did, today 1000’s go gay, straight, all colors all religions come to ISRAEL

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