Protest Against Homophobic Law
A new bill that “forbids propaganda for sodomi, lesbianism, bisexuality, transgenderism and sexual abuse of minors” was accepted at a first reading in the regional parliament of Saint Petersburg on November 16. We protest against the bill since it severely limits the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
On Tuesday, a demonstration against the bill was arranged in the city centre of Saint Petersburg. It was a silent protest. Carrying ironic slogans like “I am not a scarecrow!” and “Do not bring kids to ballet, they can see males in pantyhose!,” participants aimed at explaining the absurdity of the bill to people passing by.
If the bill enters into force, people who promote homosexuality, lesbian and bisexuality or transgenderism may be sentenced to pay fines or administrative penalties under the same conditions as people who promote paedophilia.
On the Legislative Assembly’s website, Vitali Milonov, chair of the legislative committee and deputy of the leading political party United Russia (which introduced the bill), writes that “The objective of this draft law is to protect morals as the foundation of a healthy society”, quotes the newspaper The St. Petersburg Times in their online edition on Wednesday.
In a comment to the radio station Echo Moskvy, Vitali Milonov gives a clear view on his opinion about LGBT: “The idea of ??the bill is very clear – banning campaigns of pedophils and another child abusers. […] If society does not exclude and taboo one type of deviations, then, consequently, it’s easier for a person to practice another type of deviation.”
Our partners the Russian LGBT Network and Coming Out (the largest grassroots LGBT organisation in Russia) as well as Side by Side LGBT Film Festival, describes the law as anti-democratic. They believe that the law will harm the entire movement promoting human rights for LGBT-people: “The LGBT movement in Russia has become so noticeable that the homophobic government can no longer ignore its existence. The state attempts to destroy LGBT organisations by using a legal framework for their arguments and discrediting them in the minds of the people.”
The discriminating bill is not only in breach with Russian law but also with international conventions on human rights, that have been signed by Russia.
Similar laws have already been passed in the regions of Ryazan and Arkhangelsk and the Russian LGBT organisations believe that United Russia intends to adopt a similar federal law in the near future. “This would effectively put a complete end to the work on promoting human rights for LGBT people in Russia,” feared the organisations.
They also point out that “this law also clearly violates the interests and rights of minors. Russia leads the world in the number of teenage suicides, and ignoring issues of sexual orientation and gender identity can lead to tragic consequences.”
Wednesday, November 16 is Day of Tolerance in Russia. During the first reading LGBT-organisations arranged a picnic outside the parliament. Inviting the politicians to talk to them they offered a special menu of quotes such as “November 16: Day of Tolerance. Congratulations!”, “Divide and Conquer: LGBT today – who tomorrow?” and “Ministry of Health, 1999: Homosexuality is normal. Parliament, 2011: …?”. None of the politicians accepted the invitation. Two persons were arrested during the demonstration.