A day in the life of homophobic Russia

Published: June 23, 2011

Earlier today a group of brave Russians organised a small peaceful demonstration against homophobic violence in Moscow’s Pushkin Square (named for the gay-friendly famous poet).

They wore pink triangles – "a sign that marked the prisoners of concentration camps, were sentenced to destruction of their homosexuality" – distributed leaflets against violence against LGBT people and held signs.

25 people were detained by police without explanation despite obeying the rules by standing at a distance of more than three meters from each other which meant they did not need authorisation from Moscow City Council. Viscous ‘death to gays’ anti-gay protests are routinely approved by the same authorities. Today the planned Slavic Gay Pride march in St. Petersburg was banned by city authorities.

Among those detained were activists Yasin Igor, Elena Kostyuchenko, Anna Bruce. Kostyuchenko is an openly lesbian journalist for the opposition newspaper Novaya Gazeta and was injured during the 28 May Moscow Pride protest.

The protesters said [Google translation]:

"When rapists and looters are indulgences from the church pulpit and the leniency of judges, and victims are surrounded by a conspiracy of silence, stigma of homosexuality can become fatal. The sign of pink triangle, which flash mob participants will go to Pushkin Square – a symbol of oppression. But it is – a symbol of pride and gay people who dared to be herself, in spite of rejection and persecution, despite the danger. And it is – a sign of solidarity among the protesters – many heterosexuals who support the oppressed, and ready to unite with the LGBT community in the fight for equal rights for all. In a society based on exploitation and inequality, there is only one "social group" are not discriminated against: the ruling class. Today all of us – gay."

For the International day Against Homophobia, Russian activists launched the ‘Archives of Russian Homophobia’ cataloging hate speech made by politicians, officials, public figures, as well as anti-gay initiatives taken by regional and federal authorities.

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