Gay rights activists march in Russia's second city of St. Petersburg May 1, 2013, during their rally against a controversial law in the city that activists see as violating the rights of gays. AFP PHOTO / OLGA MALTSEVA        (Photo credit should read OLGA MALTSEVA/AFP/Getty Images)

Love Russia, hate homophobia

In 2013, Russia criminalised public expressions of LGBT identity and public advocacy of LGBT equality, by invoking a ban on the promotion of “non-traditional sexual relations”. Simultaneously, the Russian police are doing little to stamp out a wave of horrific anti-gay violence.

Coinciding with this state-sanctioned homophobia, Russia is hosting the football World Cup in 2018.

We need to stand together and support Russian LGBT people. The anti-gay laws are a violation of the Russian constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights, which Russia has signed and pledged to uphold. They are also incompatible with international football regulations, which prohibit any form of discrimination.

The rising level of homophobic repression is one aspect of a wider attack on all civil and human rights by President Putin’s regime, including the victimisation of journalists and lawyers, state control of the media, suppression of peaceful protests, denial of workers’ rights and the arrest of opposition activists.

It is important that we support an alliance between LGBT and straight Russians to oppose all tyranny and defend human rights:

  • End the anti-gay law & homophobic violence
  • Solidarity with Russian LGBTs & human rights defenders
  • Defend freedom of expression & human rights for all Russians
  • Oppose the Putin regime’s escalating authoritarianism

The Russian government claims the new 2013 law against so-called ‘propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships’ is solely concerned with protecting minors under 18.

Even if this was true, why do young people need protecting from the reality of same-sex love? This excuse is implicit homophobia.

The new Russian law criminalises any public expression of LGBT identity or any advocacy of gay equality, where a person under 18 might see it. It specifically criminalises anything that suggests heterosexuality and homosexuality are equally valid.

The Russian authorities are manipulating this law to demonise LGBT people and relationships.

Already, people have been arrested for holding gay equality signs and for saying homosexuality is normal – even without any evidence that a person under 18 saw them.

36 horrific photos of Russian homophobia that you must see.

Read the 20 most shocking stories about homophobia in Russia.

The new legislation will prevent LGBT teens from being told that it’s okay to be gay and from receiving HIV prevention information about how to have gay sex safely.

The increased abduction, torture and killing of LGBT young people by far right extremists has coincided with the introduction of the new law.

Many Russian LGBT campaigners have been bashed and arrested. They are heroes of the LGBT freedom struggle. Please help us support them.