It is no secret that 2018 FIFA world cup host; Russia is one worst places for LGBTQ persons as homosexuality has been considered a crime until 1993. Being gay was considered a mental illness until 1999 in Russia. Anti-gay hate crimes have reportedly doubled in recent years and over the weekend a group of about 60 LGBTQ activists assembled in St. Petersburg, and roughly half of them were arrested by the police.The incident confirmed fears that Russia would begin cracking down on LGBTQ rights again after the World Cup.
Aleksei Nazarov, one of the co-organisers of the event told the AFP that 30 people had been arrested, and that he himself had been taken into a police van. “Everyone else has been taken to a police station,” he said. He said that the march simply called for LGBTQ rights to be respected, and that they waved Pride flags in the city center. He added that police targeted those who had the “most colourful flags and clothes.”
Following the arrests one activist who was present, known as Sobi, told Euronews: “I am very tired of the discrimination and the thought that I’m not allowed to walk out and say I feel bad about it. My country doesn’t want to hear that I feel bad, it doesn’t care.”
Russia has some of the, if not the, worst LGBTQ rights in the developed world. In a report by The GayTimes it appears that during the country’s recent Presidential election, an advert ran which warned people that they would have to live with a gay person if they didn’t vote. And a recent poll found that 83% of Russians consider gay sex to be “reprehensible.”
In 2013, Vladimir Putin signed into effect a gay propaganda rule, which banned the promotion of “non-traditional” sexual orientations to minors. Under the law, a Calvin Klein advert was banned, there were calls to ban the game FIFA 17, and the Warwick Rowers naked calendar was banned. And during the World Cup, a gay fan was left with a brain injury after a brutal attack, and authorities attempted to have a Three Lions flag which was adorned in the Pride colours taken down.
Unfortunately, there’s been no word of what has befallen the 25 pro-gay activists who were arrested at Palace Square. Stay connected to The Rustin Times for more information.