Russia became a less hospitable place for its gay and lesbian citizens today as its lower house unanimously passed a bill that basically makes it a crime to talk about homosexuality. Towleroad reports:
A disgusting action was taken today by Russia’s lower parliament as it voted unanimously for a ban on “gay propaganda”, the AP reports: The lower house of Russia’s parliament has overwhelmingly passed a bill that stigmatises the gay community and bans the distribution of information about homosexuality to children. The State Duma voted 434-0 with one abstention to approve the Kremlin-backed legislation, which imposes hefty fines for holding gay pride rallies or providing information about the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community to minors.
It’s disgusting that not one lawmaker was willing to stand up for Russia’s LGBT citizens.
In related news, the Washington Post reports that a number of gay-rights activists were detained in Moscow, after being attacked by opponents and physically assaulted:
Before the anti-gay vote, rights activists attempted to hold a “kissing rally” outside the State Duma, located across the street from Red Square in central Moscow, but they were attacked by hundreds of Orthodox Christian activists and members of pro-Kremlin youth groups. The mostly burly young men with closely cropped hair pelted the activists with eggs, shouting obscenities and homophobic slurs at them. Riot police moved in, detaining more than two dozen protesters, almost all of them gay rights activists. Some who were not detained were beaten by masked men on another central street.
Gay Web Source reports that one Russian official approach police detaining the protesters and suggested they “cut their balls off”:
Vocativ reports that at one point ‘an unidentified Duma official from the Communist Party approached and shook hands with a policeman, and reportedly said: “So are you guys ramping up the pressure on these faggots? Beat them up well! Cut their balls off!” ‘
So somehow in this twisted country, it’s perfectly fine for an elected official to call one of the citizens “faggots” and to call for them to be castrated, but it’s forbidden to say the word “gay”.
Russian photographer Ilya Varlamov has images of the protest, including some rather graphic images, here.