“I lived and thought I was hurting other people because of who I am”: Queer refugees from Russia reflect on the new law
On July 18, a bill banning “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” was submitted to the State Duma of the Russian Federation. The new law will affect information on the Internet, cinema and mass media. Currently, Russian legislation prohibits “gay propaganda” among minors. The new bill will greatly expand this prohibition.
The explanatory note to the draft law states that “the denial of the family as a social value, the propaganda of the so-called “childfree” lifestyle, as well as the “popularization of non-traditional sexual relations” pose no less danger to Russian society than the propaganda of suicide, drugs and extremism.
According to human rights activists, the statistics of attacks on LGBTQ+ persons is growing. It is mainly associated with a high level of domestic homophobia in Russian society. According to a survey by the Levada Center, in 2019, 56 percent of Russians declared a “rather negative” attitude towards gays and lesbians.
The material contains stories of Russian queer refugees about harassment, police and parental violence, the need to hide and the future for the LGBTQ+ community in Russia.