Target: Famed actress Tilda Swinton
Goal: Show gratitude for LGBTQ support in Russia
Russia’s longterm stance against homosexual liberty continues – its latest law criminalizing what it’s calling gay propaganda. Literature, rallies, and internet meeting forums for gays are now deemed criminal and punishable by law. A leading British actress recently showed some much needed support for Russia’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning community (LGBTQ) by protesting outside Moscow’s seat of government.
Actress Tilda Swinton appeared in front of the Kremlin in Moscow displaying a gay pride flag. With police in the background, this brave supporter wrote of the photo, “In solidarity. From Russia with love.” It is no doubt that the recent passage of several laws placing scrutiny on Russia’s gay citizens prompted the protest of one. After unanimous passage of the Kremlin-backed bill by Russia’s parliament, on July 29th President Vladimir Putin made it illegal to distribute “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations among minors.” This bill is exceptionally frightening because of the scope of materials, individuals, and scenarios that can be perceived as punishable. Russian society has been driven to hatred and violence against gays by a government-fueled attitude of hatred and prejudice.
Although homosexuality was legalized in Russia in 1993, an extremist view of intolerance has been favored and promoted by Russia’s leaders. Evidence of the rampant mindset of homophobia can be found in the latest legal coupling enacted by the Russian Federation. The “gay propaganda” bill is broad in its definition of what the law will not allow. Any informational material regarding homosexuality provided to anyone 18 years or younger through the internet, mass media or in pamphlet form constitutes criminal activity. It is also now illegal to hold support groups or gay pride rallies. Homosexual youth now live not only in fear of being “found out”, but also of seeking guidance or affirmation.
An online forum for Russian LGBTQ teens exists, but is visited tensely by help seekers who have to hide their faces for fear of discovery. The website provides a supportive community for suicidal teenagers and all others who cannot ask for help publicly. Through the site teens are sometimes able to be linked with psychologists, but now this underground sanctuary is threatened by the recent law. Alongside the “gay propaganda” bill was passed a sister law preventing the adoption of Russian children by gay couples abroad or unmarried individuals who live in countries where same-sex unions are legal.
The enactment of such laws set gays as a target for homophobic views and breed cycles of hate crime. President Putin promotes the crippling of any hope gays have of societal inclusion by promoting what he touts as “traditional values.” Sign the petition and show support of a brave stance against injustice. Let’s try to stop intolerance in Russia before citizens are made to wear a brightly colored patch and face a firing squad.
Dear Tilda Swinton,
Your recent stand against hate in Russia is a photograph of courageous defiance in the face of scowling prejudice. Under attack and unable to seek support, the Russian LGBTQ community needs more advocates willing to risk themselves for the cause of civil rights.
Your message sends a crack in the homosexual wall of oppression. Thank you for raising the flag of resistance. Through awareness, may that colorful banner be made to wave freely among the Russian people.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: digitalspy.co.uk