Taking Children From Their Homes: Russia Introduces Bill To Remove Gay Parenting Rights

“Waves of protests surrounded Vladimir Putin’s return to power as Russia’s President in March 2012. Since then, parliament has passed so many new laws restricting civil liberties that some people now call it the ‘mad printer.'”

– Amnesty International Wire (Amnesty.org)

Russia’s Civil Liberties Record: Getting Worse and Worse In Word & Deed

“Everything you add to the truth subtracts from the truth.”

                                                                          – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

According to the Associated Press, Russian State Duma Deputy Zhuravlev (Putin’s United Russia Party/parliamentary caucus) is introducing a law making “nontraditional sexual orientation” viable grounds to remove child custody for LGBTQ parents.

In the draft bill for this proposed new law, Zhuravlev wrote:

“Following the letter of the law that forbids propaganda of non-traditional sex to minors we must restrict such propaganda not only in mass media but also the family… if one of the child’s parents indulges in sexual contact with persons of the same sex, the damage to the child’s psyche is immense as a mother or father serves as an example for their offspring.”

Additional grounds for denial or revocation of parental custody include alcoholism, drug abuse or any amount or type of drug use deemed inappropriate, which has nothing at all to do with gender, sexual orientation or law-abiding families established in-place, having committed none of these substance-related offenses.

Here we see yet another instance of punishing allies in addition to homosexual persons, as once passed, this bill would affect families and children who aren’t even LGBTQ-identified. Custodial rights could then be revoked if both or either parent were gay (out or not), so if two parents happen to have an understanding in their relationship, share post-divorce custody, etcetera, the parent who happens to be gay can be penalized, or a child can be taken away from one or both parents for any so-called ‘homosexual-affiliated’ reason(s).

As it is already illegal to mention homosexuality around children or to advise or counsel LGBTQ or questioning youth. This recent unfortunate move is thought to be the next step in Russia’s plans to eradicate gay tolerance, inclusiveness or protections altogether for LGBTQ persons, friends, allies or families.

At this point, though the bill is to be debated before it is formally passed, it seems such motions are little more than a formality. Russian lawmakers keep clinging to the through line that their anti-gay motions and laws are being instituted to protect the children, rather than being anti-gay.

Putin has already banned LGBTQ people residing in other countries from adopting Russian children, and as of this writing, the Russian government is also considering reinstating a gay blood donor ban.

Though boycotts and protests are occurring worldwide, even Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge is throwing his hands up in the air, saying Russia will not change their minds or policies in terms of its anti-gay legislation, and Rogge’s sharing little more on the matter.

Rogge told the press, “…one should not forget that we are staging the games in a sovereign state, and the IOC cannot be expected to have an influence on the sovereign affairs of a country.”

Activists, lawmakers, PR representatives, athletes, spokespeople and officials can make all the claims they want leading up to the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, but we won’t know who’ll be arrested or how LGBT people or allies will be treated (both on arrival, during the events and while attempting to leave Russia) until it’s too late.

Many LGBTQ folks (like Johnny Weir) are Russophiles and/or have Russian spouses or partners. Have you been to Russia? Did you love it? If so, how do you feel now that Russian policymakers are passing all of these awful anti-LGBT laws?


“Moscow Is Not Sodom:” Valeriya, Russia’s Madonna, Worries About Gay Propaganda

| “ RT @BBCNewsnight: Russian Singer Valeriya Perfilova says she worries about..influence of ‘gay propaganda’ on her children #newsnight ” |

Don’t Tell Me.” I Won’t Ask You.

Gay? Out? Don’t tell Valeriya about it. The living, thriving spirit of Pussy Riot continues to push the dialogue forward and keep LGBTQIA rights, allies’ rights and progressive activism in the planet’s consciousness.

In what’s being called a new gay holocaust, Russia’s resurgence of anti-gay sentiment (including myriad anti-gay/anti-ally/anti-activism laws) continues to change hands and to be bandied about by various talking heads. The revolving door of anti-gay rhetoric moves from the streets to the legislature to celebrity mouthpieces and back again.

One of the more prominent voices fearful of “gay propaganda” is Valeriya Perfilova, considered by many to be Russia’s version of Madonna. The singer directly benefits from (but does not publicly acknowledge) the love of her LGBTQ fans.


Using the Word “Propaganda” As Propaganda

Having sold over 100 million records worldwide, Perfilova is mainly known by her one-name moniker (see: Cher, Madonna) Valeriya. In her press materials, she appropriates much of Madonna’s heat, style and vibe—but somehow, she manages to kick the gay-friendly part of Madonnaisms to the curb. This is particularly unfortunate, as the singer’s a domestic abuse survivor and her body of work does much to buoy the spirits of female abuse survivors (all the while redirecting abusive behaviors toward another culture).

In a June 2013 broadcast with BBC Newsnight’s Jeremy Paxman and Russian gay activist Anton Krasovsky, Valeriya championed a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell-esque” viewpoint, towing the party line that LGBTQ persons should not be seen or heard as such.

Regarding Russia’s anti-gay legislation, Valeriya began:

“It was funny to me, because it’s nothing to do with politics. Being the mother of three children, I approve this [anti-gay] bill… I don’t want to meddle with other people’s lives. I don’t care what they do behind their doors. But I do care about my children’s bringing up [i.e. upbringing]…. The vast majority of people in Russia, 88 percent of people, support the ban of homosexuality propaganda. That’s a fact. And this bill responds to people’s demand. That’s all.”


L.W.Q: Living While Queer & Beingness As Illegal

Here’s a bit of a backgrounder: in January of this year, former Russian TV journalist and presenter Anton Krasovsky came out on Russian television and was fired immediately thereafter.

Now, back to Newsnight—during the BBC television broadcast, Krasovsky brought forth the idea—and his lived experience—that essentially now in Russia, it’s illegal to be gay.

Holding back uncomfortable laughter, Krasovsky couldn’t hold back the irony of the situation:

“I’m glad that that situation is funny for Valeriya,” he responded. “But it’s not fun for me. I think it’s against me. Against my family. Against all gay people in Russia…. From today, I cannot say that I’m gay and I’m the same human being…like all of you. From today, I’ll have to pay for this. From a hundred to two-thousand pounds. Because these words could be taken as propaganda.”

The beingness of gay life, being LGBTQ, being a questioning soul, being LGBTQ and out, or even advocating for those who are—in Krasovsky’s experience and in his own words, now this is a crime in and of itself, no matter what one does or does not do. It’s about the beingness now. Beyond being a thought-crime, this is L.W.Q. “living while queer.”



Some of My Best Friends Are Gay…

Ironies continue to prevail. In 2008, Valeriya became a goodwill envoy for the Russian Federation on behalf of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), an agency to combat human trafficking. She’s been bequeathed with honors and endorsement deals from Avon, from a custom perfumier, from MuzTV and MTV Russia. She was awarded the title of “Honoured Artiste of Russia” by Putin, and has been cited by Forbes magazine as one of the 50 most highly-paid people in movie, sport, literature and music.

All this to say her platform and audience is immense, and the Russian government is using her star power to their full advantage.

During Newsnight Valeriya continued, “I have a lot of friends who belong to gay society, and they do not support their unisexual marriages. They would never take part in gay parades. They’re just normal people. They do their business…. are still working on TV, the media. I don’t know why it happened to you [Anton].”

But of course, the “friends” are not out—or as Anton Krasovsky put it, they are not “open gays.”

To watch the full video, visit the YouTube link below.

BBC News – What gay ‘propaganda’ vote tells us about Russia Today:


Connect with Anton Krasovsky at @krasovkin and share your thoughts with BBC Newsnight @BBCNewsnight.


Protests Against Russian and Its Olympics Opening Dialogues About Its LGBT Community

After many years of protesting by the small but active lgbtq activist community, the international community is finally taking notice of human rights abuses and homophobic laws and prejudices rampant in the chilly country. A lot of it has to do with momentum around the Olympics, and the potential effects (or not) that protests will have.

A Kremlin-supported law passed Russia’s parliament, and was then signed into law by President Vladimir Putin, back in June that placed a ban on “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations” with jail time and harsh fines. In the view of the Orthodox Church, this is meant to promote traditional family structures and spur “Western European” advances into Russia, but to many others it seems intended to continue fostering a hostile atmosphere for lgbt people within the country. While police—not to mention the native population—already target queer individuals, this is another way for government forces to overcome its dissenters with swift police action.

Recognizing this public injustice, what started out as a small demonstration of protest has sparked nation-wide activity here in the United States and abroad to the United Kingdom boycotting one of the few Russian exports: Vodka.

It started when activist and author Dan Savage called for gay bars and supporters to boycott Russian vodkas, specifically the most prominently known Stolichnaya, or Stoli, Vodka. Since then, bars in West Hollywood, Chicago, NYC, and elsewhere have pulled Stoli from their shelves, dumped it into the streets, and are refusing to sell any more until the political situation changes abroad.

A statement was issued by the CEO of Stoli, Val Mendeleev, who reiterates that the company “has always been, and continues to be a fervent supporter and friend to the LGBT community”  and cites initiatives and projects that partner with the queer community, like being the official vodka of Miami Pride and it’s “Be Real: Stories from Queer America” documentary series. Further, Mendeleev cites that the vodka sold in the U.S. is owned by SPI Group, based in Luxembourg, and while it does use some Russian ingredients, it also has distilleries in Latvia, and has been in disputes with the Russian government over brand ownership for years.

Another who argues against the protest is foremost Russian lgbt activist Nikolai Alekseev, who asks “what is the aim of this boycott?” “To be honest, I don’t see the point in boycotting the Russian vodka,” Aleksev continues. “It will [not] impact anyone except the companies involved a little bit. The effect will die out very fast, it will not last forever.” Rather than this economic protest, Alekseev sees a more useful pressure placed on lawmakers and political leadership who supports anti-lgbt measures.

Vodka may not be your drink of choice, so a better protest for you might be the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Controversy began after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) was reviewing allegations that queer athletes and tourists in the country for the games would be targeted because of the new law. After receiving assurances from the government that this would not be true, the response from the Russian government apparently flip-flopped, announcing that foreigners would be under the same scrutiny while in the country. Human Rights Campaign Vice President for Communications Fred Sainz said in response that “until there is formal action to repeal the law, it applies to everyone within Russian borders. It ought to be clear to the IOC that verbal assurance from nameless Russian officials will do nothing to protect LBGT Olympians, visitors, and personnel during the Sochi games.”

So another round of protests was announced, this one calling on athletes and governments to protest the event. U.S. groups have asked the country to not participate, and for athletes to not go in order to make a statement to the country.

However, several individuals and groups have spoken out against these methods, citing more effectiveness at dealing with issues at the Olympics than simply protesting.

The Russian LGBT Network, on their Facebook page tells lgbt supporters, “Do not boycott the Olympics—boycott homophobia!” by exercising their freedoms of expression and to not censor beliefs or actions just because of the actions of the government. To openly disagree with Russian policies would send a stronger message activists said. They point to the 1968 Olympic games where although many boycotted the event, all that is remembered is Tommie Smith’s and John Carlos’ “human rights salute” on the podium to stand in solidarity for those fighting for equality and human rights.

Greg Louganis, one of the world’s greatest divers who also happens to be a gay man, spoke out against what a boycott would mean for Olympic athletes. “Boycotts hurt the wrong people, [the athletes.” He argues that it would be selfish of the queer community to disrupt such an important event for world athletics.

Doing his part in the activism, a gay speed skater from New Zealand, Blake Skjellerup, reports that he will be wearing a rainbow pin in the Sochi Games, and calls on others to do the same. “I have no interest in going back in the closet in Sochi… This is not about defiance, this is me standing up for what I believe in.” He agrees with Louganis, saying that “I think visibility is the best possible solution, as opposed to hiding away and not attending.”

Sochi 2014 Olympics Boycott? Greg Louganis: “Nyet!” Stephen Fry: “Da!”

The mounting controversy surrounding Russia’s widespread legal war against LGBTQ persons and allies continues to inspire people to speak out, worldwide. The loudest of these voices are LGBTQ people themselves.

Two notable and diametrically opposed viewpoints have emerged from the United States and the United Kingdom, respectively. Olympian athlete Greg Louganis and world renowned entertainer Stephen Fry, both two out gay men, are speaking up for themselves, in their own words, and taking a stand against anti-gay legislation in their own distinct ways.

Both men took to writing blog posts (Louganis writing exclusively for PolicyMic while Fry posted an open letter on his own blog), voicing their concerns and advocating for the rights of all LGBTQ people affected by the increasing strict, punitive climate in Russia.

Louganis’ post, “I’m An Openly Gay Gold Medalist and I Reject the Sochi Olympics Boycott,” (http://www.policymic.com/articles/58481/i-m-an-openly-gay-gold-medalist-and-i-reject-the-sochi-olympics-boycott) speaks from experience to Louganis’ concern for all the LGBTQ athletes, supporters, families, teammates, coaches and peers who went to great efforts in preparation for the 2014 games.

Though Putin and the Russian government has assured the public those traveling to Russia will not be penalized under the anti-gay laws, none of this is guaranteed. Still, many athletes such as Johnny Weir and Louganis plan to move forward in courage and support and attend the upcoming events.

Louganis’ blog post began, “As an openly gay Olympic four-time gold medalist, you might expect that I would be in favor of joining prominent LGBT activists in calling for America to boycott the 2014 Winter Olympic games in Sochi, Russia. After all, Russia’s recently passed laws cracking down on gays and lesbians violate everything I’ve spent my career fighting for; namely, love and respect for all people.”

However, he continued, “Boycotting sends the wrong message and will only harm the hard-working athletes set to compete in the 2014 Olympics, not the Russian government itself. I know from personal experience. My first Olympics I won Silver at age 16, and then in 1980, at the height of my diving career, President Jimmy Carter opted to boycott the 1980 Olympics in Moscow as a method of protesting the Soviet invasion in Afghanistan. The toll on fellow athletes and me was devastating. We had trained our entire lives for that one moment.”

To mirror his message of support, he encouraged readers to stand behind gay in-community role models and  athletes, and encouraged people to sign the All Out and Athlete Ally petition against Russia’s recent actions (http://gayagenda.com/lgbt-empowered-shaun-t-partners-up-with-athlete-ally).

Stephen Fry’s words were just as impassioned, his sentiments just as vehement:

In his post, “An Open Letter to David Cameron and the IOC,”  (http://www.stephenfry.com/2013/08/07/an-open-letter-to-david-cameron-and-the-ioc/single-page), Stephen Fry drove his points home by writing, “An absolute ban on the Russian Winter Olympics of 2014 on Sochi is simply essential. Stage them elsewhere in Utah, Lillyhammer, anywhere you like. At all costs Putin cannot be seen to have the approval of the civilised world.”

As he too spoke from his own experience, Stephen Fry continued, “I am gay. I am a Jew. My mother lost over a dozen of her family to Hitler’s anti-Semitism. Every time in Russia (and it is constantly) a gay teenager is forced into suicide, a lesbian ‘correctively’ raped, gay men and women beaten to death by neo-Nazi thugs while the Russian police stand idly by, the world is diminished and I for one, weep anew at seeing history repeat itself.“

Fry then ended his article by citing the IOC’s own rules, re-purposing them inclusively, in defense of LGBTQ rights. He ended his letter as follows:

“I especially appeal to you, Prime Minister, a man for whom I have the utmost respect. As the leader of a party I have for almost all of my life opposed and instinctively disliked, you showed a determined, passionate and clearly honest commitment to LGBT rights and helped push gay marriage through both houses of our parliament in the teeth of vehement opposition from so many of your own side. For that I will always admire you, whatever other differences may lie between us. In the end I believe you know when a thing is wrong or right. Please act on that instinct now.”

Additionally, entertainers such as actor Harvey Fierstein, George Takei, Dan Savage (http://gayagenda.com/dumpstoli-russias-anti-gay-bill-sparks-creative-boycott) and a growing number of public figures are making themselves heard. While everyone who’s come forth is voicing opposition to the anti-gay legislation in Russia, it seems like opinions run neck and neck: those who feel a boycott is futile or unfair for the Olympians seem to equal those who feel it is unconscionable to hold the event in Russia at all.

Have your say!

Click the following link to sign All Out / Athlete Ally’s petition speaking out against Russia’s anti-gay legislation https://www.allout.org/en/actions/russia-attacks or leave your comments below.


#DumpStoli: Russia’s Anti-Gay Bill Sparks Creative Boycott

When Keeping It Real Means Keeping Vigilant

Come on, let’s go
Back to Moscow
Irresolution doesn’t suit you or me or anybody…

– From “Moscow,” by Autoheart

Just as we celebrate progress with LGBT equal rights, another human rights breech rises up to spilling over, demanding more healing and attention in Russia.

Since 2006, a combination of anti-feminist and anti-LGBTQ fervor has been gaining momentum there. Russia continues to punish outspoken LGBT supporters, driving the point home by dragging out the fate of LGBT-feminist activist-allies Pussy Riot, denying yet another member of the group parole for its activism.

Within the last year, Russia has activated harsher legislation, banning gay pride parades while continuing to detain, arrest and prosecute LGBTQ people and allies for both public or private actions and speech.

Persecution and Prosecution

More strident legislative punishments have emerged as Russian lawmakers fight what they call “homosexual propaganda” or “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations,” passing the “Don’t Say Gay” Anti-Gay Bill.

Russian President Vladimir Putin also managed to sign a law banning all gay adoptions—signing three anti-gay bills into law total with no signs of stopping. Russian lawmakers now reinterpret LGBT outreach as “pornography,” intending to prosecute those who speak out against new laws, making them subject to the same detainment, arrest, prosecution or implied threats of violence as gay people experience.

It’s no surprise that hostility and vigilantism in Russia is becoming serious, with Russian skinheads among others attacking gay-identified persons including teens.

Separate and Not Equal

The upcoming Winter Olympics will be held in Sochi, Russia in 2014.

HRC (the U.S.’ largest gay rights organization) along with Dan Savage and others predict Russia’s new anti-gay activity will prove exacting for Olympic athletes, coaches, supporters, press and related attendees, whether or not they’re gay.

To illustrate the breadth of Russia’s definition, the HRC cited banned activities range from friends or couples holding hands, public displays of affection (kissing or hugging) to voicing solidarity in any form. The new laws equate LGBT activist outreach materials with pedophilia, forbidding by default any outreach to Russian gay or questioning teens struggling with coming out.

While the IOC says Olympic athletes, press and guests will be exempt from Russia’s anti-gay laws, how can this be guaranteed?

Johnny Weir told the press he’s unafraid, stating: “The fact that Russia is arresting my people, and openly hating a minority…is heartbreaking and a travesty of international proportions, but I still will compete.”

Activists continue to demand that LGBT athletes boycott the upcoming games. Russian tourism earnings are expected to dwindle, and meanwhile, activists in-country (namely Nikolai Alekseev and peers) say financial boycotts won’t even make a difference, encouraging international supporters to push for governmental change only. This echoes Pussy Riot’s push-back in the face of international support, which they’ve eventually warmed up to, somewhat.

Creativity Continues As Protests Spread

Regardless of the latest headlines, international creative collaborators continue to show solidarity. Such artsy projects aren’t mere flights of fancy. Passing anti-gay laws sends a clear signal to those who would commit hate crimes they’ll be given a free pass to act out violently, beyond reproach.

Remember the inexcusable violence at St. Petersburg Pride?

In an extension of this anti-gay law, Russian authorities are already arresting gay tourists who aren’t even from Russia. That’s how quickly discrimination affects us worldwide.

In the face of this chaos, Russia is facing an immediate and expansive vodka boycott. Gay-owned bars, consumers and businesses are kicking Stoli vodka to the curb. At the prompting of Dan Savage, the hashtags #DumpStoli and #DumpRussianVodka were created to fuel efforts, with Canadian and U.S.-based establishments as first responding boycotters and British clubs following suit. Canada has since issued warnings in a travel alert for LGBTQ persons visiting Russia.

Unfortunately, this puts Stoli North America in a tricky situation: Stoli Vodka CEO Val Mendeleev has expressed disagreement with new Russian laws, to which activists from Queer Nation replied, “A single open letter that was discreetly placed…will not help LGBT Russians nor will it have an impact on the… anti-gay campaign…. Marketing is not enough.”

Enter the London-based band, Autoheart, who penned the timely single, “Moscow.”

The new single greets the listener with maudlin, layered nostalgia for a love the singer knows is there. In the tune, there’s a heart that needs reminding.

On their YouTube page, Autoheart wrote: “Moscow is a song about the daft optimism of being in love,” continuing: “We are lucky in Britain to have laws that mean whether we are gay, straight, bisexual or anything in between, our relationships are recognized and our rights protected by law.”

“In our video, two gay Russian soldiers kiss in front of the Kremlin — yet just last month a group of same-sex couples in Moscow were violently attacked and then arrested for doing just this.”

If Autoheart were Russian, their very words alone would make them instant candidates for prosecution.

The band went on to encourage visitors to sign this petition, a callout to world leaders for equal rights: https://www.allout.org/en/actions/russia-attacks

Other creative solidarity projects are:

The #Virtual Pride launch

Stop Homophobia In Russia, a 2-video series

The Gay Women Channel’s “Putin Airlines Safety” video

Autoheart’s lyrics to “Moscow” conclude:

When in Moscow I just want to fold you up
And keep you warm, keep you warm.

To find out more about LGBT Russia, visit here or here –

Spectrum Human Rights Alliance (Eastern Europe) www.spectrumhr.org/?pli=1

Russian LGBT Network http://www.facebook.com/LGBT.Russia

Let’s keep talking about this: what kind of vodka is your corner bar serving? Where’s it manufactured? Is this boycott inspiring you to take action?

Worldwide Pride Parades Offer Solutions for Targeted LGBT Individuals

This past weekend saw a large amount of pride parades all across the world, with some creative solutions for those who could not participate.

Marking the 44th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in New York City (NYC), the United States had pride parades in San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Minneapolis, St. Louis, and of course NYC. The focal points of the weekend were the people who made the Supreme Court rulings possible: the San Franciscan parade had two couples who brought the Prop 8 case in front of the Supreme Court—Kris Perry and Sandy Stier, and Paul Katami and Jeff Zarillo—who were married just after the marriage ban was lifted; and Edith Windsor, the woman who was the plaintiff in the DOMA case, helped lead the march in NYC.

Internationally, pride parades were met with different reactions, though all of them included some sort of large political message. A week ago, on the one-month anniversary of gay marriage in France, Paris held its always popular pride parade, marching to the Place de la Bastille, the location for its traditional huge dance party. In Istanbul, the pride parade joined with the thousands of protesters already in Taksim Square and marched down Istiklal Avenue with banners of support written in Turkish, Armenian, Kurdish, and Arabic. Pride parades in Bogota, Caracas, and Toronto were also well attended and celebrated.

Things were a little bit different in Russia. The Russian government has always been openly hostile to its lgbt community, beating, arresting, and detaining known queer people, their allies, and their supporters. Last year the Russian government upheld the Tverskoy District Court ruling that banned gay pride parades from the city of Moscow for 100 years. While it sounds like satire, the government is quite serious about it, and has received condemnations from international human rights groups, including the European Court of Human Rights.

On Saturday, June 29, protesters were arrested in a pride rally in St. Petersburg. Nationalist civilians, who outnumbered the protesters 5 to 1, also showed up, throwing rocks and eggs and shouting “Sodomy will not pass.”

This year, in protest of the government, Russian lgbt activists decided they would have their pride parade, just away from their native soil. The day after the protests in Russia, supporters took to the streets during the NYC pride parade and held their own “Virtual Pride” < http://www.virtualpride.org/>. Using geolocation and social networking technology, every step of the parade route showed on a map of Moscow in the route that the pride parade would have taken, and supporters populated the route by using the hashtag #virtualpride to make speech bubbles pop up along the route.

Virtual Pride was officially supported by the directors and organizers of the parade. Tish Flynn, media director for NYC Pride, explained, “We think it’s really important that anyone is allowed to celebrate a pride. If it’s not a safe space where they live, either internationally or here, we feel like everyone should be able to take part in some sort of pride celebration.”

While attitudes in Russia have not gotten better toward lgbt people, the ever-increasing spread of pride parades and positively-changing attitudes shows a lot of progress throughout the world. It is definitely a season to feel pride, and celebrate.

Prey The Gay Away – St Petersburg

The Russian politician who introduced the horrifically homophobic St. Petersburg bill banning ‘gay propaganda’ has stepped up his campaign and crusade against gays by claiming in a recent interview that homosexuality is a ‘bad habit’ that can be treated by fasting and prayer,  reports Jason Shaw.

The deputy of the St Petersburg city legislature Vitaliy Milonov said that homosexuality was an illness, which can be cured and this hatemonger likened same-sex attraction to “a bad habit. His homophobic and

Speaking on the popular Russian radio talk radio show Ekho Moskvy, Milonov told how if his son told him he was gay, he would take him to a priest who should tell the young man that he was partaking in a bad habit that one can easily quit. “God can send many temptations upon us,” he said. “But the thing is, this illness is easily treated by fasting and praying. I do not know of a single case within the Russian Orthodox Church that a man would not be cured by his sincere repentance in this sin. People get rid of it, just like they get rid of kleptomania or, for instance, fornicators.”

Virtually every medical and psychiatric association in the world have long since proved that homosexuality is not an illness or something that could be cured. Equally there is uniform opinion that trying to prey the gay away is futile and in many cases harmful.

Milonov who also wants to outlaw abortion, is no stranger to controversy, he gained particular notoriety this year for his campaign against homosexuality and received a parody award in June for his initiative to ban homosexuality in Russia until 2015. One of his key aims was achieved in St. Petersburg this February when the city legislature approved a bill banning the promotion of homosexuality and paedophilia to minors, this includes holding any form or gay pride event or protest for equality.

Milonov has also vowed to prosecute a German rock group called Rammstein as they, in his view, violated the bill during a concert in St. Petersburg. Although it should be noted that the comment and concert took place in February and so far no legal action has been taken. However many Russian citizens have been arrested since this homophobic and wholly inappropriate bill became law.


Activists Fight Against St. Petersburg

A fight is going on over the Russian city of St. Petersburg as a group of gay rights activists have issued a complaint against the authorities in the city for its ban of a gay pride parade in June 2011, reports Jason Shaw.

The equality group, Ravnopravie, has made the appeal to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, alleging the authorities’ actions were “disguised discrimination.”

This brave organisation is also planning to launch another appeal against the St. Petersburg authorities, this time for the ban of a gay pride rally planned for July 7th this year.

Yury Gavrikov a gay rights activist in St. Petersburg told local news “The authorities violated the Russian law, which is proved by common sense and consultations with lawyers, who are ready to help us.”

On 25th June 2011 a small dedicated band of gay rights activists held an unsanctioned rally in the city and were met with aggression and violence from the authorities, 14 people were detained and convicted of administrative violations.

In recent months the city has stepped up its discrimination and persecution of gay people with the introduction of a new law which effectively censors any mention of homosexuality in public and outlaws any gay price events. Many believe this is a half way measure along the road to completely criminalising homosexuality in the area and the country as a whole.

The bill banning “the propaganda of homosexuality and paedophilia among minors” became law in March of this year. The authorities have also raised fines for unauthorised meetings, demonstrations and marches significantly, designed to prevent pre announced and approved gay pride protests from taking place.