Organizations and journalists will face severe fines under the new legislation, which prohibits the promotion of non-traditional sexual relations to all age groups. Individuals guilty of this "offence" could be fined up to 400,000 roubles ($5,840; £4,730).
In a recent interview, Russian drag performer Danya shared the impact of a new anti-LGBT law passed by the Russian Parliament in December. Danya, who identifies as the "only monster drag queen in Russia," regularly performed at the queer club night Gender Blender in St. Petersburg.
However, the new law has forced the cancellation of the shows and left Danya's work opportunities scarce. Danya told BBC that the law is prohibiting the things they do, expressing concern over the increased risks and anxiety faced by the LGBT community in Russia.
New Law in Russia Restricts Mention of LGBT+ People and Culture, Leads to Increased Persecution
According to The Global Herald, the LGBT+ community in Russia is facing increased persecution following the passing of a new law by the Russian Parliament in December. The bill, which human rights groups have criticized, places significant restrictions on any mention of LGBT people or culture.
The legislation prohibits all age groups from "promotion of non-traditional sexual relations," and those found guilty of this "offense" face fines of up to 400,000 roubles ($5,840; £4,730), with even larger penalties for organizations or journalists.
This new law is a part of Russia's continuous, extensive campaign of discrimination against the LGBT+ population. Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, has made it plain that Russia is fighting "Western" values and Ukraine on the battlefield. The president attacked the West and LGBT rights in a speech at the Kremlin to honor the illegitimate takeover of four areas of Ukraine, branding them "pure Satanism."
This recent law and the harsh rhetoric used by President Putin have led to increased fear and discrimination against the LGBT+ community in Russia. Many activists, organizations, and individuals have reported being targeted by the government for supporting LGBT+ rights. The international community has also condemned the law and called for Russia to respect the human rights of all its citizens, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Feeling afraid due to the new law, Danya, a Russian drag performer, has decided to leave the country and move to France. He believes that living in a country where it's illegal to "just be yourself" leaves him with no choice but to leave. Danya said his hands were tied, and he no longer had an option. Either he goes to the country or stays here and waits for it to worsen.
In his apartment in the heart of St. Petersburg, LGBT rights activist Piotr Voskresensky showed reporters the artifacts from his short-lived LGBT museum, which was the first of its kind in Russia.
In September of last year, he invited the public to an exhibition, but after the new law took effect, he was forced to close it again. Piotr claims that the law is an attempt by the Kremlin to deflect public attention away from military defeats. He thinks they are using the LGBT+ community as a new scapegoat since they believe the war is over, the economy is in ruins, and this is all just a ruse.
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Russia's New Law Widens' Gay Propaganda' Ban Amplifies Political Homophobia and Suppresses Liberal Values
"The new draft legislation amplifies that in broader and harsher ways," Tanya Lokshina told CNN, associate Europe, and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch, regarding Putin signing a bill into law on Monday which broadens the 2013 'gay propaganda' law.
This action is only one of many that Putin's administration has done recently to stifle free expression and liberal principles in Russia. The 2012 law on foreign agents has been updated and enlarged, and as of last week, anyone who has "received support and (or) is under foreign influence" must register as a foreign agent and abide by stringent guidelines.
In March, the Russian government adopted a law criminalizing the dissemination of false information about the Russian armed forces with a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.
Despite discrimination being outlawed for homosexuals in 1993, Russia is currently ranked 46th out of 49 European nations for LGBTQ+ inclusion by the watchdog ILGA-Europe.
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