In 2013 Russia passed a law prohibiting the propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships to minors. This law makes amendments to the federal law which aims “to protect children from information that can bring harm to their health and wellbeing”.
The fine for breaking this law is 1 million rubles, whereas the fine public displays of Nazi attributes is 2,000 rubles. This suggests that the promotion of ‘non-traditional relations’ is deemed worse than the promotion of fascism.
Several conservative American organisations such as the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute and the World Congree of Families have expressed their support for the new anti-gay law in Russia. They believe it will prevent attacks made against the ‘natural family’, which is formed between the marriage of a man and woman. And that this ‘natural family’ is the “foundation of any human society”, which is entitled to protection. Without the protection this anti-gay propaganda law provides, they believe it would be destructive to society and that children need this protection “due to their innocence and immaturity.”
‘Hunted’ is a channel 4 documentary, which epitomises the level of homophobia in Russia today. The documentary follows groups of people that target the LGBT community, setting traps such as inviting gay men to a flat by using online dating website’s, to only physically abuse and humiliate these men upon arriving.
One of these groups called ‘parents of Russia’, targets gay and lesbian teachers. They offer to pay cash for information that would lead them to their victims. The leader of this group, Timur Isaev, said “This is Russia. This is hell for homosexuals… they should get used to it”.
Not only is it illegal to promote homosexuality it is also illegal to make neutral comments about it. The only comments allowed are negative ones, so that people are constantly fed this negative portrayal, leading to these attacks. Attacks which the local authorities are not taking action on, setting an example that shows you can get away with giving homophobic abuse.
There are constant associations made between homosexuality and peadophilia. President Putin made a statement welcoming gay athletes to the Sochi Winter Olympics, whilst at the same time asking them to leave Russia’s children alone.
One of the gay men interviewed on the documentary, after he was blinded in one eye from an attack by one of these groups, said “if it’s constantly drilled into people that we are… scum and perverts, I understand why these guy’s shot at me… essentially a hunting season is open and we are the hunted”.