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Russia tightens LGBTQ+ law in clampdown on beleaguered community

As if there were not other things that Russian MPs should be concerned about nine months into the Kremlin’s war against Ukraine.

Their president wants to elevate traditional Russian values over what he calls “outright Satanism” of the West. His parliament adopted, in the second reading, a bill that tightens the screws on Russia’s struggling LGBTQ+ community.

The 2013 law banning the promotion of gay propaganda to minors was expanded to include all ages.

This means that movies, literature, journalism, and advertising will all be punished with severe fines if they actively promote the idea of non-traditional sexual relationships or advocate a change in gender.


These can be as high as 400,000 rubles (PS5,500 for individuals) and five million rubles (PS70,000 for legal entities).

Russian Federation will expel foreign citizens who are found to have broken the law.

It remains to be seen how lawmakers will implement the new law, whether through a flood of cases or by scaring people into self-censorship.

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Vladimir Komov, from Delo LGBT, which offers legal assistance for the LGBT community, said that “there are so many pieces to law now and this clearly won’t be the final.”

“We hope, in part, that we can stop the system by resisting it and not hiding.” It will simply not be able to handle the sheer number of cases.”

Delo LGBT is one the few LGBT support groups left in Russia. Others were labelled as foreign agents and fled the country.

It is unclear how many LGBT people have fled Russia since February 24, especially considering the fear of being mobilized into the homophobic Russian military forces. However, Mr Komov insists that he must defend those who remain.

He fears that the new legislation will increase violence, forced outing, catfishing, and extortion in Russia’s LGBT community, and create a safe environment for hate speech.

“Homophobes now openly refer to LGBT people as fascists or Nazis,” Mr. Komov said.

“LGBt became the main enemy of the state, almost as a target, since February.

Despite growing restrictions, there was still a vibrant gay scene in Moscow, St Petersburg, and Sochi during the past decade. Gay clubs were crowded. They were easy to find, even though there would not be any advertising or markings.

Domestic homophobia was actually on the decline, particularly among a younger population.

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Robert, an openly gay man living in Moscow, says that he was born in 2000. Most of his peers are LGBT friendly.

“Most people don’t understand why we have this ban. It sounds unbelievable to them that propaganda can convince someone to be gay.”

Russia’s parliamentarians average 40 years old, but they act for younger generations who have often grown up with different views. The book that reached the top of the bestseller list this summer is a good example.

Summer in a Pioneer Tie is the story of a love story between a teenager boy and his 19 year-old group leader at a Soviet pioneer camps.

It is 18+ according to existing laws. However, it has gained a huge teenage following. The associated hashtag #lpvg has 317 million views on TikTok.

“We must do all we can to protect our children, and those who want to lead a normal lifestyle,” Vyacheslav Volodin (speaker of the Russian parliament) said as lawmakers voted to approve the bill.

“All else is sin, sodomy and darkness, and our country fights this.”

Russia’s legislators run the risk that by banning LGBT propaganda, Russia could make it more appealing to younger generations who might find the endless talk about traditional values too attractive.


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