Russia’s House of Parliament has voted for further restrictions and fines on members of the LGBTQ society in the country.
One of the authors of the law was Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Rodin. He supports this, he says, in order to preserve Russia’s historical, cultural, and social traditions. Rodin reported that Russia is:
…following a different path chosen by our grandparents and great-grandparents. We have traditions, and we have a conscience, and we understand that we should think about our children, our families, and our country in order to preserve and protect [the values that] our parents handed down to us.
This is a view many other Russian lawmakers apparently hold, as over four hundred parliamentarians of the 450 members of the chamber backed the bill, the Russian news service Tass reports.
Gay propaganda’ law remains in place, but complaints continue
Russia’s new gay propaganda law is essentially an extension of the one previously legislated in 2013.
According to Child’s Rights International Network, under the guise of protecting children, Russian political leaders virtually shut down any discussions on LGBT matters or positive messages about it.
That enactment, the organization states, “seriously affected children across Russia, effectively denying them their right to information about gender and sexual diversity.”
Furthermore, as asserted by the Child’s Rights International Network on their website, the complaints continue today even though the law itself remains in place.
The new edict, entitled the “Answer to Blinken” bill, is in response to criticism from the US Secretary of State. However, it has yet to be approved by the Upper House. The law also requires authorization by President Putin himself.
Blinken’s response has merely been to encourage the Russian government to abandon such efforts, BBC stated. Furthermore, he urged them to “respect the human rights and dignity of all.”
The proposed expansion of Russia’s ban on information regarding LGBTQI+ issues would be another serious blow to freedom of expression and the human rights of LGBTQI+ persons in Russia. We urge Russian lawmakers to withdraw the bill and respect the human rights and dignity of all.
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) November 24, 2022
In the US, for example, President Biden named the first-ever Black, openly LGBTQ House Press Secretary in May. The first Generation Z, trans man, and openly lesbian politician in the U.S. also won in November’s midterm elections.
Extension of ban on LGBTQ community
With the new extension, what the Russian government is attempting to do is re-regulate the previous enactment on a much stricter level. The principle means is through banning any propaganda related to same-sex or non-traditional sexual relationships. Positive depictions of same-sex relations in the media or advertising are also highly regulated.
Russia’s lower parliamentary house has basically branded any portrayal of such topics as pornography. By doing so, they have now put it in the same category as violence, racial, or ethnic discrimination as well as religious persecution.
Those restrictions also encompassed any depictions in advertising, books, or films. Also banned are any online conversations pertaining to LGBTQ issues in addition to displays or selling of merchandise with related symbols or slogans.
The fines are even more prohibitive. They are $6,000 US dollars for anyone in the community who breaks the decree and $82,100 for companies. Even tourists and visitors face prosecution, imprisonment, or expulsion under the new act.
Attacks on the community have increased since the implantation of the first regulation that Kseniya Mikhailova, the head of the LGBT support group Vykhod—a Russian word that means ‘coming out’—declared to Reuters.
In her own words, what they now face is a wave of violence as “the state is not against violence towards LGBT people.”
The topic was so volatile in 2013 that even the British comedian and writer Stephen Fry stepped into the fray.