Post submitted by Noah Montague, HRC Global Engagement Intern
On May 1, a multitude of Russian LGBT activists and supporters took to the streets of St. Petersburg to protest a wave of discriminatory anti-LGBT legislation that has passed in Russia in the past year. The event, which was open and without interference from Russian police authorities, marks a memorable occasion for Russian LGBT activists throughout the country.
The march, which was estimated to have more than 300 protestors, took place free of interference from Russian authorities and opposition demonstrators. While LGBT activists are normally subject to harsh and draconian laws in Russia which prohibit “gay propaganda” on the basis of protecting Russia’s children, LGBT activists took advantage of the domestic freedom allotted by May 1, which in Russia is also known as International Workers Day. The holiday allotted for the free march and protest of numerous groups all throughout Russia with freedom from police interference and protection from opposition protestors in order to prevent violence.
Inadvertently, LGBT protestors in St. Petersburg were also joined by Vitaly Milonov. Milonov, who was one of the largest proponents for the “anti-propaganda” law in St. Petersburg which discriminates against the LGBT population, accidentally stumbled upon the march supporting the demise of the law and protection of equality for all citizens of Russia.
While the status of equal human rights are still marred by anti-LGBT Russian legislation, the march represents a positive moment for the marchers as they carried a rainbow banner with the words “Love is Stronger than Hate.” In addition to the May Day march, LGBT activists hope to hold another action on May 17, the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia.