Only in Latvia can the Minister of Transport, Ainars Slesers, whose mandate has little or nothing to do with public order in municipalities or government policy on sexual minorities, pull off such a fuckwitted move as endorsing the Riga city manager's ban on a previously permitted gay and lesbian parade in the Riga Old Town scheduled for Saturday, July 23. Slesers says he is pleased with the ban and links it to an effort to prevent Latvia from being a destination for "sex tourism" and "homosexual recreation" - whatever the latter means. I suspect it means no gays playing golf at Ozo's Golf Course? No gay anglers fishing in the Gauja? What, exactly?
Besides roads and telecommunications, the Ministry has some kind of mandate to improve tourism to Latvia, and Slesers has done his part by encourage low-cost airlines and the like. But now it seems, according to his statement, that Ryanair and Easyjet should only be flying heterosexual tourists who intend to make pilgrimages to Aglona and go birdwatching in Latvian marshes?
I do not doubt that Ainars Slesers in his private is a good and pious traditional family man and one should respect these virtues. It is quite another thing when he makes statements that shift Latvia's position closer to Iran than to Europe on the government attitude scale. From minister he has become the Ayotollah of Transport.
The 10 % of the population being gay rule-of-thumb applies to the telecommunications and IT field as well, and Slesers is essentially saying that gay specialists, whose sexual orientation has nothing to do with their technical, financial, marketing or other skills, should be warned that Latvia is a prejudiced and homophobic country (and racist, to boot, the attitudes go hand in hand).
This is not a social comment or political blog, but this time I make an exception.