“LGBT for the traditional values” actions took place in Russia

“LGBT for the traditional values: love, family and respect for human dignity” actions took place in a number of Russian cities on January 22. Activists used elements of Russian traditional costumes: kerchief, kokoshnik, sarafan, kosovorotka (Russian national shirt) and other. This was a way to show that slander and discrimination against LGBT using the rhetoric of traditional values is unacceptable. These actions were also against the introduction of an article 6.13.1 banning so called “propaganda of homosexualism” to the Administrative Violations Code.

The law endangers not only the work of human right activists but also life and well being of LGBTs who now will be exposed to greater violence and discrimination.

Russian LGBT Network activists explain the concept of their actions: «In fact, the law marks a significant part of society – LGBT, their parents, relatives, friends – as socially inferior, dangerous for the society and people who undermine traditional values. This picket is our chance to openly tell the society that family values, love and human dignity for us is as important as for all Russians».

Public actions took place in Saint Petersburg, Samara, Arkhangelsk and Tomsk. Orthodox activists who came to the State Duma in Moscow attacked the LGBT participants despite the attempts of the police to prevent it. After the action several mass media representatives were also attacked. The attackers wore masks. Two of them were arrested. Activists filed an application to the police.

A picket in Saint Petersburg did not provoke aggression from the citizens. Organizations prevented attacks. Nevertheless three young people, supposedly representatives of extreme right groups, they waited near the business center where the offices of LGBT organizations are situated. They managed to follow the activists to the place of pickets and they tried to get to the LGBT Network office. They told the security that they had an appointment. Around 13:10 people coming back from the action to the office met them at the entrance. Right wing activists tried to grab the banners but did not succeed.

9 activists took to the streets in Samara. The police stopped several provocations and walked participants after the action. Nevertheless two young men attacked the last group when people were leaving a tram. One person was injured. Activists will file an application to the police.

Participants of the action in Tomsk were asked by the police to come to the police station and write a statement. As activists said, they were treated respectfully.

In Arkhangelsk there were no any incidents.

The action in Russia brought together activists Arkhangelsk LGBT organization "Rakurs", Samara LGBT movement "Avers", as well as independent LGBT activists and members of the Russian LGBT Network in different regions. Also actions held in Brussels (Belgium), Helsinki (Finland) and Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan). They were attended by a number of organizations, including Amnesty International, ILGA-Europe, Outrage, SETA and others.

Igor Kochetkov, the Chairman of the LGBT Network: “I wonder what “traditions” are being forced on a society by those who support laws that prohibit gays and lesbian to talk about themselves openly? It seems that those are the “traditions” of ignorance, violence and intolerance. They beat people who take to the streets with peaceful actions for protecting freedom and human dignity, attack journalists, they greet each other by a nazi greetings. They do it all justifying themselves with talks of traditions, religions and moral. This is a cynical scorn of these ideas and of those who cherish them. Today we decided to support real values that unite society: love, family and respect for human dignity. We think that those who really share these values don’t search for inner enemies, are not afraid of mythical “propaganda”, those who are for the right to live for everybody without a fear for themselves and their beloved ones”.

Additional information:

The draft law was introduced by the Novgorod region Legislative Assembly on 28 March. Its first reading was delayed many times. Its future will be decided on 24 January by the State Duma Council. Similar laws passed in 9 regions of Russia. On 30 November LGBT Network started a campaign “Against article 6.13.1”. The campaign was supported by such famous Russian and International human rights organizations as Youth Human Rights Movement, Moscow Helsinki group, SwedishHelsinki committee, Civil Rights Defenders, United for intercultural action, Amnesty International, ILGA-Europe, Front Line Defenders, SETA, Intergroup on LGBT Rights of European Parliament and others.