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Russia Approves Official Gay Rights Protest

by Winnie McCroy
EDGE Editor
Friday May 9, 2014

For the first time since enacting their federal anti-gay laws last summer, officials in Russia have agreed to allow gay rights activists to hold a protest.

Gay Star News reports that on May 8, city officials gave the okay for gay rights activist Alexander Yermoshkin to gather 100 people to release balloons into the sky on May 17 for International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia.

The law bans the dissemination of "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships" that would "undermine the security of Russian society," especially as regards minors. The legislation is broad enough to effectively ban any public display of LGBT culture.

Although some activists joined a May 1 protest in St. Petersburg against Russia's anti-gay laws, the march wasn't specific to gay rights, but rather coincided with the celebration of May Day.

"What happened in St Petersburg was very cool, but it is still far from a trend," said Nikolai Alekseev, a LGBTI activist in Russia. "The authorities are continuing to ban the freedom of expression, and courageous people like these ready to face insults and fists are the ones that are making a difference."

Gay Star News reports that all other public events against the discrimination of LGBTs have been banned, including a call to allow the gay community freedom of movement in a single visa, and a tribute to the gay victims of the Nazis during World War II.

Winnie McCroy is the Women on the EDGE Editor, HIV/Health Editor, and Assistant Entertainment Editor for EDGE Media Network, handling all women's news, HIV health stories and theater reviews throughout the U.S. She has contributed to other publications, including The Village Voice, Gay City News, Chelsea Now and The Advocate, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.


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