Post submitted by Yushuang Sun, HRC Global Engagement Intern
On Saturday, Moscow police detained six LGBT activists for pro-LGBT demonstrations.
Two female LGBT activists were arrested for unfurling rainbow flags during an unsanctioned Pride demonstration, reported The Associated Press.
The rally was dedicated to Conchita Wurst, a drag performer who won the 2014 Eurovision Song contest. Her victory has stirred a backlash in Russia where there had previously been petitioned to have her removed from the competition. Many anti-LGBT Russians removed their beards on social media to protest her victory.
A separate demonstration took place Saturday afternoon in a nearby park. The protest, scheduled to coincide with the International Children’s Day, was held in support of protecting LGBT minors from discrimination. There, Moscow police detained four protesters.
A total of 30 LGBT activists attended the two demonstrations.
The Moscow authorities had already banned one march scheduled for Tuesday, which was meant to commemorate the 21st anniversary of the decriminalization of homosexuality in Russia. But the activists vowed to press ahead with demonstrations on Saturday. Moscow has not allowed a Pride parade for nine consecutive years.
After the collapse of Soviet Union in 1991, the Russian government has liberalized its policies towards LGBT individuals. Homosexuality was decriminalized in 1993 and transgender individuals have also been allowed to change their legal gender on identity documents since 1997. Despite these positive trends, homophobia remains strong in the country. Russian authorities have routinely denied permits for organizing Pride parades, arrested LGBT activists, and condoned anti-LGBT statements by government officials.The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) rates Russia as the least protective nation in Europe for LGBT individuals, ranking it the 49th out of the 49 European countries in its annual survey.
In June 2013, President Vladimir Putin signed a law banning the “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships” to minors. This law makes public events and dissemination of information about the LGBT community to minors punishable by fines up to 800,000 to 1 million rubles. Foreigners are also subject to 15 days of prison and deportation from Russia. While the law stipulates that only information directed at children should be banned, it could be applied broadly with little regard to any notion of child protection.