The Russian city of St. Petersburg has recently adopted a bill that could impose fines of up to $16,700 for any “promotion of homosexuality” to young people.
The ‘Gay Gag’ bill needs to be signed by the Governor of the state and then any “public activities promoting homosexuality (sodomy and lesbianism), bisexualism and transgender identity” will become illegal.
Besides criminalising reading, writing, speaking, or reporting anything related to LGBT people, this ban on “promotion” would also target Pride parades, literature, theatre, and NGOs that openly serve LGBT people.
Draftee of the new law Vitaly V. Milonov says “this is a declaration of Russia’s moral sovereignty” and claims the bill would rid Russia of Western Governments’ intrusion on Russian law.
But Polina Savchenko, Director of the Coming Out LGBT organisation based in St. Petersburg, believes “This radical law undermines the great legacy of our city’s past and future.”
“This law installs a culture of censorship in what was once Russia’s most cosmopolitan city and is a huge blow to the freedom of expression in Russia,” she said. “At a time when people all over the world are opening up and coming out, this law puts Russia back in the closet.”
Activist Group All Out has produced a video in support of the LGBT community in Russia. Check it out here:
Targeting St Petersburg’s tourism industry, All Out are asking people to spread the message that this bill and the homophobia it supports will ultimately negatively impact Russia.
The Huffington Post reveals: “The goal of this bill is pretty straightforward; it’s part of a pattern of conservative blowback around the world against increased visibility of LGBT people.
“In Russia, in the face of a nascent LGBT rights movement, conservatives want to nip it in the bud by criminalising LGBT people, pushing them underground, and making them invisible.”