Despite the existence of a draconian "gay propaganda" law outlawing all public expressions of support for LGBT rights, Russian LGBT activists this week are reviving an annual awareness-raising campaign they call the Week Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia.
According to a press release from Queer Russia, the week consists of a series of lectures, panel discussions, legal and psychological seminars, exhibitions and concerts, and public events held in major Russian cities to combat bigotry and call attention to LGBT rights violations. The theme for this year's week, which runs from March 29-April 7, is "We're Talking About Love, Not Sex."
Queer Russia reports:
Within the "Rainbow dialogue" opening event in Moscow on March, 30 everyone was be able to get acquainted with a diversity of gender and queer identities , communicate with various representatives of the LGBT community and get answers to their questions. The event was disturbed by excessive attention from police, riot squads and by searches at the hosting club. A group of homophobies was waiting outside for the event to finish, nevertheless, participants of the event were able to walk home safely.
During the Week Moscow will host the traditional "Day of Silence" flashmob, as well as a floral and sticker flashmob action.
The group writes that the Russian LGBT Network, which had coordinated things from 2008-2013, decided not to hold the week this year, writing in a statement that its "initial goals were achieved." Two other participating groups -- Moscow's Rainbow Association and St. Petersburg's "Coming Out" organization -- disagreed and chose to organize the event independently.
Under Vladimir Putin's "gay propaganda" ban, individuals and organizations who make any kind of public pro-LGBT statements face fines and possible detention.
To coincide with the campaign in Russia, LGBT Russian expats in Washington are planning their own awareness-raising action at the White House this weekend. Details are after the jump.