Russia, Europe

As of 2011, Russia has no criminal law directed at LGBT people and has refused to enact legislation to address discrimination or harassment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Public opinion about LGBT topics and people tends to be negative, although there is a visible LGBT community network, including nightclubs and political organizations. In 2010 anti-gay Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov was replaced by another homophobe Sergey Sobyanin who continues to refuse authorizating gay Pride events. As usual attempts to defy the ban and march in public (in 2011) degenerated into violent clashes with anti-gay protestors and as usual police failed to protect gay rights activists. Several were taken to jail but later released. Nevertheless GayRussia continues to resist against repression and inequality.

 

News & Reports:

 

Russian gay expat: No gay people in Sochi? ‘I laugh because I’ve been to Sochi’

A gay Russian expatriate who sought asylum in the US has spoken out against the Sochi mayor who claimed there are no gay people in his city, saying “I laughed out loud, because I’ve been to Sochi.” In an interview with NYDailyNews, 26-year-old Gleb Vakrushev spoke against Russia’s notorious anti-gay “propaganda” laws, which he said… Read more »

Russian anti-gay gang violence seen for the first time on camera

Forthcoming C4 documentary reveals disturbing methods used by homophobic groups as Olympics near Shocking footage of the violent groups that target gay men and lesbian women in Russia will reveal the dangerous levels of homophobia in the country in the runup to the Sochi Winter Olympics this week. A Channel 4 documentary, Hunted, to be… Read more »

Russian editor fined 50,000 roubles for printing ‘being gay is normal’

A journalist had interviewed a gay geography teacher who had been fired from his position for his sexuality A journalist had interviewed a gay geography teacher who had been fired from his position for his sexuality A Russian editor was fined yesterday (29 January) for printing an interview with a gay teacher who said ‘being… Read more »

The ‘enemy within’: A gay Russian writer talks about homophobia and libel under Putin

“All this noise you guys have been making since the anti-gay law was signed is doing its job.” -Sergey Khazov, writer and journalist In times of crisis, Russia hunts for the enemy within; that’s what Sergey Khazov tells me when I ask him why there is so much anti-gay sentiment in his country. “The recession… Read more »

Homophobia spreads in Russian media

The Russian authorities have been widely criticised for enacting a law banning the promotion of homosexuality among children. A rising tide of homophobia in parts of the media has accompanied and followed the adoption of that law, including attempts to implicate homosexuals in a recent series of terror attacks. The controversy surrounding the so-called “anti-gay”… Read more »

Sir Ian McKellen leads 27 Nobel laureates in protesting Russia’s ‘gay propaganda’ law

Sir Ian McKellen and his friend the chemist Sir Harry Kroto have penned an open letter to the Russian Government signed by 27 Nobel prize winners, protesting its ban on so-called ‘homosexual propaganda to minors’ Sir Ian McKellen has joined forces with the noted chemist Sir Harry Kroto to co-write a protest letter to the… Read more »

Vice Releases ‘Young And Gay In Putin’s Russia’

When Russian legislators passed anti-gay “propaganda” legislation last summer, they effectively institutionalized homophobia and transphobia throughout the nation. In the months since, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals have become targets of violence, with self-proclaimed “vigilantes” subjecting Russian queers to public acts of brutality and private acts of torture. In anticipation of the upcoming 2014… Read more »

Vladimir Putin’s attack on homosexuality is shattering the lives of Russians

Nikita Guryanov, a high-school student in Moscow, has been dubbed a “propagandist”. But what is the hateful doctrine that he is spreading? He summed it up best in his YouTube show: “No matter who you are – gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender – you are a human being,” he said. “You are an individual. You… Read more »

Russia’s ‘anti-gay’ law pushes gay community into shadows

Moscow, Russia (CNN) — Pavel Petel was once an open, flamboyant bisexual man from Ukraine who built up a career as a model, performance artist and DJ in Russia. Photographs of him semi-naked while riding a horse and brandishing a gun are a feast for web surfers. But after he and his partner Sergey Ostrikov… Read more »

Orthodox Church of Russia: Homosexuality must be banned and excluded from society

Russia’s powerful Orthodox Church has proposed a referendum on banning homosexuality. On Friday, spokesman Vsevolod Chaplin pointed to polls showing more than a third of Russians view homosexuality as an illness. “There is no question that society should discuss this issue since we live in a democracy,” Mr Chaplin told the online edition of the… Read more »

Russia’s Church urges gay sex ban referendum

Russia’s powerful Orthodox Church proposed Friday a referendum on banning gay relations in the face of Western pressure over human rights ahead of next month’s Winter Olympics in Sochi. The Church’s abrupt intervention came amid a growing debate over whether the Kremlin should mount a stronger defence of traditional values that many in the overwhelmingly… Read more »

Gay-Rights Advocates Prepare For The Sochi Olympics

Russian President Vladimir Putin was in Sochi this past weekend to inspect and oversee preparations for the Winter Olympic Games, which are now just a month away. He has made no secret of his plan to use the Games as a showcase for modern Russia. International human-rights and L.G.B.T. activists, however, are focussed on raising… Read more »

Far From Russia’s Biggest Cities, Being Gay Means Being Always Under Threat

Konstantin was kidnapped and threatened with death. Mikhail was beaten by a friend when he came out. Oksana fears she may be forced to flee Russia. These are their stories. Tolyatti, Russia — The last two years have been brutal for Konstantin Golava, a 22-year-old environmental activist and the only publicly out gay person in… Read more »

Photos: What It’s Like In The Gay Bar At Ground Zero Of The Russian Olympics

It’s hard to imagine running a gay club under the threat of government crackdown, terrorist attacks and abduction, but somehow the owners of the Mayak in Sochi are soldiering on. Reuters photographer Thomas Peter paid a visit to the nightclub and snapped a few shots, as well as portraits of brave members of the LGBT… Read more »

Gay Russians are equal? One club asks Putin to take closer look.

In an open letter to Vladimir Putin, the owner of Moscow’s biggest gay nightclub says it has come under repeated attack recently, but that police refuse to help. Moscow — President Vladimir Putin contends that Russia’s gay citizens are “absolutely full-fledged and equal in rights” with all other Russians. But critics argue that’s legalistic window-dressing… Read more »

Moscow gay club attacked with poison gas

Four attacks have been made on Russia’s Central Station nightclub since the gay propaganda law was enforced this summer A Moscow gay club was attacked with poisonous gas, forcing several people to seek medical attention. On Saturday night (23 November), unknown attackers sprayed the chemical weapon inside club Central Station. Around 500 clubbers were escorted… Read more »

One Gay Man’s Russia

Asylum seeker again shares his story with D.C. audience In the comfortable second-floor meeting space of Dupont Circle’s Le Mirch restaurant Wednesday evening, Nov. 13, the conversation had zero to do with anything so pleasant as fine dining. Instead, a small handful of organizers tried to give a group of about 20 locals better insight… Read more »

Russian Government Spies On LGBT Activists To Portray Them As Part Of Western “Homosexualist Invasion”

Human rights activists warn these “KGB-like” tactics are an ominous escalation in the assault on LGBT rights ahead of the Olympic games. Russian officials bugged a private strategy meeting convened by Russian LGBT activists and four major international human rights organizations in October, an intensification of the campaign to clamp down on LGBT rights ahead… Read more »

Gay South African Student Latest Victim of Russian Skinhead Violence

One of the ugliest faces to emerge in the wake of Russia’s gay propaganda law is that of a group of neo-Nazis, who proudly post videos of gay men being tortured on social media. Although it is almost inconceivable today, that face got uglier in a video posted by the group featuring the racist taunt… Read more »

Russian Gay Activists Wrapping up Visit to Portland

A pair of gay rights activists from the Russian city of Archangel are wrapping up a five-day visit to their sister city of Portland, Maine. They’ve been trying to raise awareness about the struggles faced by Russia’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender – or LGBT – community, in light of the recent rise in anti-gay… Read more »

Russia Anti-Gay Attack Leaves One Injured After Shooters Open Fire at LGBT Center in St. Petersburg

An attack on an LGBT center in St. Petersburg left one person injured, after two men opened fire on a weekly meeting Sunday evening. The two shooters entered the Laskai Center, a safe space for LGBT citizens in one of Russia’s largest cities. Wielding traumatic pistols – high powered, widely sold air guns that are… Read more »

These Gay Russian Love Stories Will Not Be Televised

Sometimes the absurd details are what stand out the most when Russians describe the effects of the new and ill-defined anti-gay “propaganda” law on everyday life. One gay couple I spoke with, newly arrived in the U.S., recently posted photos to Facebook of their wedding day at New York City Hall. Their parents back in… Read more »

These Gay Russian Love Stories Will Not Be Televised

Sometimes the absurd details are what stand out the most when Russians describe the effects of the new and ill-defined anti-gay “propaganda” law on everyday life. One gay couple I spoke with, newly arrived in the U.S., recently posted photos to Facebook of their wedding day at New York City Hall. Their parents back in… Read more »

Sochi’s Furtive Gay Clubs

As Sochi prepares for the Olympic Games, the city’s gay scene is quietly thriving—by keeping mum about Putin’s crackdowns on LGBT rights. Anna Nemtsova reports. With just over 100 days left before the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, the city was buzzing with activity. And so was Sochi’s only gay club, Mayak (or “The Beacon”).… Read more »

Gay rights protest in St. Petersburg ends in clashes, arrests

St Petersburg, Russia (Reuters) – Police arrested 67 people after a fight broke out between gay rights activists and their opponents at a demonstration in the Russian city of St Petersburg on Saturday. Gay rights campaigners in Russia have held several small protests since the adoption of a law in June banning homosexual “propaganda” directed… Read more »

Gay rights rally in St. Petersburg ends in violence

Scuffle starts after anti-gay protesters take rainbow flag away from a woman A gay rights rally in St. Petersburg ended in scuffling. According to the Associated Press, dozens of gay rights protestors were confronted by approximately 200 conservative and religious activists. A fight broke out after one conservative activist ripped a rainbow flag out of… Read more »

Fabulous Queer Russia News Portal Launches English-Language Si

Ruslan Porshnev, pictured, is a gay Russian activist with an excellent command of English and was responsible for organizing the Queer Russia group on Google in March 2011. It’s a terrific listserv of Russian and Western activists sharing information and ideas, which I’ve been a part of since it started. In recent weeks, Ruslan launched… Read more »

From Russia With Love: Lesbian couples speak out on life under Putin

In a new photography project for Muff Magazine, four gay female couples speak out on love and anti-gay laws ‘From Russia With Love’ is a new photography project looking at lesbian loving couples living under Putin’s ‘gay propaganda laws’. Photographer Anastasia Ivanova wanted to look at the country’s anti-gay culture means for the women living… Read more »

A Russian Gay Activist Speaks Out

Nikolai Baev, 38, is a veteran Russian gay activist born and raised in Moscow. He founded the first gay group in the city of Novosibirsk when he was a university student there, and is one of the original organizers of the efforts to stage the banned Moscow Gay Pride. Baev has been on the front… Read more »

Russia ‘gay propaganda’ law may fall after historic court ruling

A Russian judiciary court has agreed with an international ruling, a sign they could be forced to in years to come to repeal the federal law A historic ruling in Russia could be the key to finding an end to the ‘gay propaganda’ laws. Back in March 2009, gay activist Irina Fet protested against the… Read more »

Speaker of Russian Parliament invites MEPs to visit Moscow’s gay bars

The Speaker of Russia’s Parliament has invited members of the European Parliament to visit Moscow’s gay bars in an attempt to show Russia accepts the LGBT community. According to Russian news agency RIA Novosti, State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin told a session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on Tuesday: “We… Read more »

Amid Putin’s crackdown, Sochi gay scene thrives

Sochi, Russia (AP) — A man named Ravil catapults onto the dance floor and starts stomping out the lezginka, the arrogant rooster strut of the Chechen national dance. Ravil’s spontaneous performance is made even more unusual by the fact he’s in one of the two gay clubs in Sochi, the southern Russian town that will… Read more »

Leading Russian gay activist behind Moscow Pride dies

Alexey Davydov, 36, has died in hospital after a short life dedicated to LGBT rights Alexey Davydov, a leading Russian LGBT activist, has died in hospital. One of Russia’s most prominent LGBT activists, Alexey Davydov, has died at just 36 years old after a prolonged illness. Davydov passed away at 5.40am local time today (27… Read more »

10 LGBT Protesters Detained at Sochi Olympic’s Moscow Headquarters

Ten LGBT-rights protesters were detained Wednesday while attempting to picket the Olympic headquarters in Moscow. Prominent gay rights activist Nikolai Alexeyev, who has been detained more than a dozen times at protests over his career as a campaigner, was reportedly among them, an eyewitness told Gazeta.ru. Police were waiting as the protesters approached the entrance… Read more »

St Petersburg QueerFest offers LGBTs a way to stay in Russia and make things better

The first QueerFest since Russia banned ‘homosexual propaganda’ will see over 1500 visitors attend the 10 day event to take a stand against gay hate Risking fines and arrests, the fifth annual international QueerFest launched in St Petersburg today. Attracting nearly 2000 visitors every year, Russia’s ‘queer pride and culture festival’ comprises seminars, discussions, photo… Read more »

Uzbek Mob Tries To ‘Rape Away the Gay’ in Siberia

An Uzbek student was stripped of his clothing, handcuffed, beaten, and raped at gunpoint with a bottle by a group of vigilantes who targeted him because he is gay, according to a report from Radio Free Europe. The assault took place on September 11 in Novosibirsk, the capital of Russia’s federal district of Siberia. One of… Read more »

Russian Gay Activist’s Plea: ‘Get Us the Hell Out of Here’

Masha Gessen is a Moscow-based writer, journalist and activist who’s been speaking out in recent months on Russia’s anti-gay propaganda law. Though she’s an American citizen, she’s from Russia and has lived in Russia for many years, raising three children with her lesbian partner, a Russian citizen. Gessen hoped Western pressure in recent months would… Read more »

Obama Meets With Gay Rights Activists In Russia

President Barack Obama met with gay rights activists in Russia on Friday. The president met with a group of 9 civil society leaders, including some gay rights activists, before returning home at the conclusion of the G-20 summit in Saint Petersburg. According to a White House pool report filed by Peter Baker of The New… Read more »

Vladimir Putin Says He’s Not Anti-Gay; Admits Tchaikovsky May Have Been Gay

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that he can’t be anti-gay because he gives gays prizes. Putin made his remarks during a wide-ranging interview with the AP at his country residence outside Moscow. “I assure you that I work with these people,” Putin said. “I sometimes award them with state prizes or decorations for their… Read more »

Russia: Gay rights activist Nikolai Alekseyev seeks urgent meeting with Vladimir Putin

Gay rights activist and Russian pride organiser Nikolai Alekseyev has officially requested a meeting with Vladimir Putin after the President claimed he was willing to speak with members of the LGBT community in a recent interview. In an interview with Associated Press, Putin said he would meet members of the LGBT community if they asked… Read more »