LGBTQ+ Russians defiant in face of ‘propaganda’ ban

Anti-government activists are seen during a protest near Wawel Castle in Krakow. The protest takes place every month during the visit of PiS leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski to Wawel Castle, when he visits the grave of his brother, former Polish President Lech Kaczyski and First Lady Maria Kaczyska, who died in the Smolensk disaster. The PIS leader's journey is supervised by over 100 policemen and other secret uniformed and security services. On Tuesday, October 18, 2022, in Krakow, Lesser Poland Voivodeship, Poland. (Photo by Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The lives of LGBTQ+ Russians are already hard – now it’s about to get even worse (Picture: Artur Widak/NurPhoto)

Russia’s LGBTQ+ community is bracing itself for the worst – and to fight – after the Duma moved to ban so-called ‘gay propaganda’ for adults.

Life has long been challenging for queer Russians. A law was passed in 2013 that banned showing minors anything that could be considered ‘gay propaganda’.

Russian lawmakers often describe being anything but heterosexual and cisgender as a crude Western import harmful to ‘traditional’ customs.

But now parliament is set to pass a daunting legislative package that would ban all ‘gay propaganda’ for adults as well as under-18s.

The lower house of parliament passed the third reading of the policies that will effectively ban even being an ally in the country.

If passed, they would prohibit the representation of LGBTQ+ people in films, TV, streaming services, social platforms, books, billboards, posters and more.

The ban strengthens the already existing prohibition on ‘gay propaganda on minors (Picture: AP)

Anyone caught violating the law faces heavy penalties. Individual fines are up to 400,000 rubles, or £5,500, while organisations face five million rubles (£68,000).

Foreigners can be arrested for up to 15 days or deported, according to the bill.

Russia LGBTQ+ activists all saw this coming, they tell They say strengthening the propaganda ban will make their lives even harder.

The Charitable Foundation Sphere is the largest LGBTQ+ group in Russia and has long been a thorn in the side of president Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin.

‘Being LGBTQ+ in Russia means always feeling fear and hiding,’ says the head of the group Dilya Gafurova.

‘In my small town (around 200,000 people), one day a man hit me on the bus because he thought I was a f****t. That’s what he said. And no one did anything.

‘But the worst thing is that you can’t express feelings for your partner in any way. And it turned out that this could not be done even at home: recently in Russia, guys were detained who were noticed in the window of their own apartment.’

LGBTQ+ campaigners expect more LGBTQ+ Russians to leave the country once the bill becomes law (Picture: AP)

Saying she expects LGBTQ+ people’s mental health to worsen under the ban, Gafurova adds: ‘It is terrible to live and feel like a stranger and superfluous everywhere.’

Kseniia Mikhailova, a lawyer for the advocacy group Coming Out, says: ‘This is a discriminatory, anti-constitutional law. 

‘After the introduction of the bill in the Parliament its adoption was absolutely expected. It shows how Moscow treats all Russians.’

The laws first landed in the Duma in June about four months into the country’s war against Ukraine.

How some lawmakers have described why the bill is needed uses the same language as how they justify the Russia-Ukraine war – a battle against the West.

Putin himself presented LGBTQ+ people as a threat to the motherland in a speech last …read more

Source:: Metro


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