Target: Sergey Naryshkin, Chairman of the Russian State Duma
Goal: Drop Russia’s potential new homophobic laws
It goes without saying that Russia’s new law banning “gay propaganda” is the subject of significant international outrage. However, it may just be the start of further legal persecution of LGBT Russian citizens by their own government.
Mikhail Degtyarev, a current senior Member of Parliament in the State Duma and candidate for mayor of Moscow, recently stated that national lawmakers may reintroduce a ban on blood from gay donors that expired in 2008. Such bans, including the one that exists today in the United States, are the relic of outdated beliefs that HIV/AIDS is a “gay disease.” Degtyarev referenced this when he made a questionable statement that “65 percent of all HIV-positive persons are homosexuals.”
What is far more chilling, though, is he also stated that the Duma is expected to propose a “conversion therapy” service to help homosexual Russians “return to normal life.” Conversion therapy is a malicious and discredited shame-based procedure which tells gay “patients” that who they are is not natural and the result of a mental illness. Despite statements from Degtyarev that conversion therapy would be voluntary Care2 noted “Given Russia’s recent intense onslaught against its gay community…this raises alarm bells that the service could never truly be opt-in.”
These potential new measures are truly horrifying and continue a pattern of homophobic persecution by the Russian government. By signing this petition, you will ask the State Duma of Russia to drop them.
Dear Chairman Naryshkin,
Russia has become a target of international condemnation since the State Duma passed its “gay propaganda” ban in June. However, the resulting scorn has obviously had no effect as the Duma may propose two additional discriminatory laws against LGBT Russians.
These potential new measures, outlined by MP Mikhail Degtyarev, are chilling. The first is the revival of a ban on blood donations from gay donors which originally ended in 2008. To justify this, Degtyarev alluded to existing laws such as in the United States. However, those laws are the result of a dated belief that HIV/AIDS was almost exclusively a “gay disease” and are being challenged today. A quoted statement from Degtyarev that “65 percent of all HIV-positive persons are homosexuals,” given without any source, shows the continuation of this mentality.
Far more horrifying is the suggestion that Russia may implement a “conversion therapy” program, which Degtyarev said would help gays “return to normal life.” This would give government blessing to a discredited and pseudoscientific shame-based “treatment” which tells LGBT persons that their sexual orientation is not natural but the result of a mental illness. Though Degtyarev said this “service” would be voluntary, with the current climate in your country it is impossible to think this would truly be the case.
Not only do these potential laws hold no practical benefit, they continue a pattern of blatant homophobia and discrimination on the part of the Russian government. I urge you, and the State Duma, to drop discussion of these measures and concentrate on real issues in Russia.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Valya Egorshin via Flickr