“Homophobia is Immoral”: Single Picket on the Day of the Decriminalization of Homosexuality was held in Omsk

On the 27th of May, Viktor Babkin held a single picket in Omsk. He rallied in the city-center with a poster, saying “Homosexuality is not Immoral, Homophobia is Immoral”. The day Babkin chose was not coincidental. On the 27th of May in 1993 Russian authorities decriminalized homosexuality. In the Soviet Penal Code voluntarily engagement in same-sex relations was prosecuted under the article number 121. With his protest, Babkin aimed to attract attention to the problematic position of the LGBT citizens in Russia and to show his solidarity with the LGBT community.

Babkin expressed his excitement that no disruptions happened during his picket, saying that he was worried that he was going to be attacked by homophobes, or arrested by the police forces. “Some people showed their support: one woman, she was about 30-40 years old, said that she supports me and my position. Another woman said that I am brave and asked if she could take my picture. One guy, in his twenties, asked what my protest was about. I explained my goals to him and he had a brief discussion on the matter with the representative of the Russian LGBT Network in Omsk. After that, he said that it was wrong and left. There were also other negative reactions. One young mother with two small children saw me and hurried away.”