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:


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 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 »

Russian Conservatism on Gay Issues Provokes Clash With West

Gay marriage is increasingly legal in Europe. Gay parades are massive events in European capitals. So how are gays faring in Russia, sometimes seen as Europe’s largest nation? In Russia, Max “The Hatchet” cruises gay Internet dating sites and then lures young gay men for “re-education” sessions at the hands of his “neo-Nazis.” Max’s group,… Read more »

Comment: With all eyes on anti-gay Russia, there are three countries with a shocking need for coverage

Paul Canning looks critically at media coverage of the LGBT situation in Russia, highlighting other areas around the globe where hate crimes and violence have also soared, yet where media coverage is still minimal. It’s Russia, Russia, Russia when it comes to ‘foreign gay news’ these days. But it’s a much bigger and badder gay… Read more »

Russian LGBT Network: Anti-gay laws have increased homophobic violence in Russia

Activists in Russia say the controversial anti-gay “propaganda” laws passed in June have led to an increase in homophobic violence, with those responsible for the attacks no longer fearing legal reprisals. President Vladimir Putin signed the controversial law in June banning the promotion of “non-traditional relationships” toward minors, a move that has been criticised as… Read more »

Russia: First person to be convicted under anti-gay ‘propaganda’ law arrested by his own parents

24-year-old Dmitry Isakov may become the first gay rights activist to be convicted under Russia’s controversial “gay propanda” laws, after he was attacked and arrested by his own parents at a solo campaign in July. On July 30, Mr Isakov staged a one-man protest in the centre of the town of Kazan, Russia, holding up… Read more »

Russian law isolates gay teenagers

In Moscow — Like other gay teenagers here, Maxim Moiseyev grappled with his identity alone, frightened and uninformed. Adults either ignored him or admonished him. Classmates reviled him. And a new law that prohibits minors from hearing anything positive about homosexuality has only made life harder. Maxim, a 16-year-old Muscovite, is among the few Russian… Read more »

Russia Raids Nikolia Alexeyev’s Home; People Encouraged To Turn In Gay Neighbors

Police raided the home of Nikolia Alexeyev, considered Russia’s most outspoken gay rights activist, after a lawmaker lodged a complaint against him. According to Reuters, Alexeyev’s home was ransacked by Russian prosecutors. Alexeyev said that the officials removed several pieces of electronic equipment. “Do you think this is all legal?” he told reporters pointing to… Read more »

Eight Horrific and Uplifting Stories About Being Gay in the New Russia

On January 25, Kremlin-friendly journalist Anton Krasovsky invited a bunch of drag queens on his show on KontrTV, a Kremlin-owned channel. It was his personal protest against a proposed law [1] in the Russian parliament, the Duma, which would ban distributing “gay propaganda” to minors. The law’s broad definition of “propaganda” would prohibit publicly discussing… Read more »

Understanding Russia’s homophobia

Because there’s been so much discussion about Russia lately, and because I’ve written quite a bit about the immediate context of Russia’s anti-gay laws and political difficulties (most recently 1, 2, 3, and 4), I thought it might be useful to back up a bit and provide some of the deeper background for these issues… Read more »

Analysis: Why life is getting harder for LGBT Russians has spoken to a PhD student originally from Moscow and now living in the UK on the challenges facing Russia’s LGBT community. Anna Grigoryeva was among several hundred people, including Stephen Fry, who gathered in Westminster on Saturday to protest against Russia’s homophobic censorship laws. She says it was important to attend the demonstration… Read more »

Gay Russian man seeks refugee status in Vancouver

Maxim Zhuravlev says stay at Vancouver homeless shelter safer than life in Russia A gay refugee claimant living in Vancouver says he fled to Canada from his native Russia to escape being persecuted for his sexual orientation. Maxim Zhuravlev is staying at a homeless shelter in downtown Vancouver, but says the conditions are far safer… Read more »

Gay Russian teens communicate in secret to avoid law on ‘propaganda’

Young homosexuals faced with hatred and rejection in Russia turn to closed internet forum Deti-404 for support Only one person knew that Svetlana was gay when she wrote to Deti-404, a Russian support group for lesbian teenagers. In her letter, the 16-year-old described a life of hiding her sexuality in a small town in central… Read more »

How Russia’s science of sex threatens gays

Twenty-five years ago, when I lived in Russia, I was in a restaurant with some friends. The meal abruptly ended when we were escorted, at gunpoint, into a back room. The restaurateurs-cum-criminals wanted us to pay them a few hundred dollars or else they would inform our families and employers that we were “pederasts” and… Read more »

Video: Russian paratroopers violently attack lone gay rights activist in St Petersburg

A lone gay rights activist, Krill Kalugin, was assaulted by a violent group of Russian paratroopers in the city that was the birth place of the country’s anti-gay legislation. Mr Kalugin was holding a rainbow banner in St Petersburg that read “This is propagating tolerance” when he was attacked. President Vladimir Putin signed the law… Read more »

Russian Sports Minister: Anti-Gay Law Will Be Enforced At Sochi Games

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko on Thursday declared that Russia’s anti-gay law will be enforced at next year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi. “The law talks not about banning non-traditional orientation but about other things, about propaganda and implicating minors,” Mutko reportedly told R-Sport news agency. “No one is banning an athlete with a non-traditional sexual… Read more »

First tourists arrested for ‘gay propaganda’ in Russia free to go

Four Dutch filmmakers were not charged after making a documentary about gay rights in the Russian city of Murmansk – the footage was then seized by police Four tourists who were arrested in Russia for ‘gay propaganda’ were told they were free to go today (22 July). Due to an ‘irregularity in the minutes’, the… Read more »

Olympic committee calls for acceptance of all athletes at Winter Olympics despite Russian anti-gay laws

Responding to human rights groups, the International Olympic Committee has released a statement calling for the acceptance of all athletes in the wake of Russia’s recently passed anti-gay legislation. The statement was released in the face of concern from human rights groups that LGBT people will not be safe in Russia for the 2014 Sochi… Read more »

IOC issues statement on Olympics in Russia

The International Olympic Committee has released a statement to Windy City Times acknowledging the passage of anti-gay laws in Russia and calling for the acceptance of all athletes. The winter Olympic games are in Sochi, Russia in 2014, and there have been calls for a boycott of the event from some LGBT activists. The IOC… Read more »

Russian court rules St Petersburg Gay Pride was legal

After all the people that marched in the Russian city for gay rights was arrested, a Russian court rules police violated their right to freedom of assembly A Russian court ruled yesterday (10 July) the arrests made at Gay Pride in St Petersburg were not illegal. When every person who attended the protest was arrested,… Read more »

Putin: The Czar of Homophobia

Russian anti-gay repression condemned Violation of Russian constitution & European human rights law Sign the petition against homophobic repression in Russia London’s LGBT Pride Parade last Saturday included protests against Russia’s new anti-gay law and condemnation of President Vladimir Putin as the “Czar of Homophobia”. See photos of the Peter Tatchell Foundation contingent at London… Read more »

Russian gay activist attacked, arrested by his own parents

A 24-year-old male student is reportedly missing after he was arrested twice by Kazan Police A gay activist is missing after he was attacked and arrested by his own parents in Russia. Dmitry Isakov, a 24-year-old student, was arrested twice in Kazan in the western Republic of Tatarstan on 29 and 30 June. The young… Read more »