This is a direct message from the Russian LGBT Network, Saint-Peterburg, Russia to Edinbourgh, Scotland. A message to you all who came to support our fight in Mother Russia.
Why are you here in the first place? Why are you taking a stand to help us? Everyone has hir own reasons. Some of you may have a Russian partner or friend. Someone may think big and political. Someone may have roots in Russia. Whatever your reasons, you are highly appreciated by us. Your help is crucial in our fight for Human Rights. What happens here, what you do, makes a gay’s day in Russia.
Let us tell you some facts about how things are in our country.
The Russian state doesn’t want to discuss any discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. That’s the biggest problem that the Russian LGBTQI community faces at the moment. Russian authorities just want to deny the ‘gay phenomenon’. Putin and other leaders of the country have announced several times that “in Russia no one discriminates them” – meaning gays. That sort of a position not only indicates the refusal to provide the LGBT with any legislative quarantees but also the reluctance of the police to objectively investigate criminal offences motivated by homophobic and transphobic hatred.
And this is already a serious problem that often concerns the life and death of people.
No one discriminates us? Nothing’s wrong? Right now Human Rights defenders initiate and follow criminal cases against members of an organized group of Nazis who, throughout the country, «hunt» gay teenagers, youngest of them are only 12, who then are beaten, insulted and humiliated in every possible way. They film all and put on the Internet. Their slogan is “Let’s break their lives”. Already about 400 minors have suffered their violence – and not only suffered, but died. But not a single criminal case has still been brought to court. We are sure that the police just doesn’t want to do that. Why so? Because opening up and admitting crimes of that kind would disprove the thesis of Putin that the Russian LGBT didn’t have any problems.
Our federal law bans the “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships amongst minors” and allows the persecution of people and organizations that want to open the eyes of society to the situation of the LGBT. It is banned to spread any information about the normality of homosexuality and for example appeals to teenagers to admit their homosexual peers as equals and treat them with respect.
At the same time the authorities encourage the dissemination of information that stigmatizes the LGBT and appeals to limit their rights. The TV channels and other forms of mass communication, controlled by the state, welcome all that kind of information. In that kind of a situation, neither a solution nor a full public discussion regarding the equality of LGBT people is possible.
Rainbows in Russia are discriminated, threatened, beaten up, tortured, silenced. That’s why you are taking a stand for us.
We want to let you know that we, as your partners, are not letting in. We fight back. Only trough putting hard international pressure on the Russian authorities and the whole anti-gay Russian society we can together make things change, make an end to this nonsense, and give new hope to hundreds, thousands of young and old LGBTQI people in Russia and elsewhere. We are grateful for having you by our side in this fight for justice and equality.