Drew Cordes

Legislation in Russia Would Ban Gay 'Propaganda'

Filed By Drew Cordes | November 23, 2011 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Amnesty International, anti-gay legislation, gay propaganda, russia, St Petersburg, United Russia

A bill put forth by the conservative political party United Russia in the St. Petersburg Legislative Assembly calls for a fine of up to $1,600 for "public actions aimed at propaganda of pederasty, lesbianism, bisexuality, and transgenderism among minors." Reached by the Associated Press, Russian gay rights activist Nikolai Alexeyev of the GayRussia.ru group warns that the bill map_of_russia.jpegcould be a slippery slope, saying "It theoretically allows the ban of anything anywhere where kids could be present."

Even more frightening, according to the St. Petersburg Times (the city's biggest English newspaper), is that "Russian officials are talking about expanding the anti-'gay propaganda' law proposed by Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev's party to the entire nation."

Amnesty International spoke out against the bill, calling it "draconian," "homophobic," and that it would "threaten freedom of expression and fuel discrimination against the city's lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community."

"This bill is a thinly veiled attempt to legalize discrimination against lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people in Russia's second-biggest city," said Nicola Duckworth, Amnesty International's Europe and Central Asia Programme Director. "The notion that LGBTI rights activists are somehow converting Russia's youth through 'propaganda' would be laughable, if the potential effects of this new law weren't so dangerous and wide-reaching."

The online LGBT activism website allout.org launched a worldwide petition to put pressure on Russian leaders to abandon this unjust bill. You, and everyone else you know, can sign it here.

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This legislation has already passed in some large Russian cities like Arkhangelsk. What I find bizarre is how the Russia Today network (which is mostly subsidized by the Russian Government) has repeatedly criticized treatment of gay people in Georgia and some of the ex Soviet Republics even though this bs is going on. Also interesting that Kyrgystan (another ex-Soviet republic Russia loves to demonize) just made their national policy for changing gender markers on ID for trans people more progressive than that of the USA.

I think it's motivated more by politics -- particularly anger that countries like Georgia and Kyrgyzstan are turning away from Russia's sphere of influence -- than any interest in the welfare of GLBT people.

Alaric, a lot of it is because they're expelling the Russian populations in those former republics (Russia, like the US did with Native people and Mexico, extensively Russified the native people with white, slavic colonists) and in Georgia's case, they've had huge fights over the area of South Ossetia, which is currently part of Georgia but Russia wants to make back into part of Russia, mostly because it would help them strategically control Chechnya. So, you're totally right, it has zero to do with the rights of LGBTQ people and everything to do with their own interests.