Russia wants to “ban LGBT+ activities” on its territory

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Russia wants to “ban LGBT+ activities” on its territory

Russia’s Escalating Anti-LGBT+ Policies under Putin

In an increasingly conservative stance under Vladimir Putin, Russia has announced a major policy shift this Friday, November 17, signaling an imminent ban on the “international LGBT movement” activities under the guise of “extremism.” This significant move comes after the targeting of transgender rights in June, as the Russian government now unyieldingly turns its focus on the LGBT+ community. On November 17, the Russian Ministry of Justice disclosed a request to label the “international LGBT movement” as “extremist,” with a hearing scheduled for November 30 at the Supreme Court of Russia.

Russian Ministry of Justice Labels LGBT+ Movement as Extremist

The ministry’s brief statement did not clarify whether the ban targets specific organizations or the broader movement advocating for gender and sexual orientation minority rights. Since the conflict in Ukraine, Russian authorities have escalated their conservative actions against LGBT+ individuals, claiming to eliminate practices they perceive as Western imports. This regression in human rights is also seen by Russia as a way to shield children from what they consider “deviant” individuals and to preserve the country’s supposed cultural and family values.

Contrast of LGBT+ Rights in Russia: From Openness to Repression
Contrast of LGBT+ Rights in Russia: From Openness to Repression

Sphere NGO’s Response to Russian Government’s LGBT+ Crackdown

Reacting to this development, Dilia Gafourova, the director of “Sphere,” a Russian NGO defending LGBT+ rights, expresses strong opposition: “The Russian government fails to recognize that the LGBT+ community consists of full-fledged citizens and individuals. Their aim is to erase us from public life and ostracize us as a social group.” She characterizes this move as typical of oppressive, non-democratic regimes targeting vulnerable communities and vows to continue the fight for LGBT+ rights in Russia.

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The Deteriorating State of LGBT+ Rights in Russia Since USSR’s Collapse

Reflecting on the trajectory of LGBT+ rights in Russia, there has been a noticeable decline since the early openness following the USSR’s collapse. A law enacted in 2013 banned the “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships.” In December, this law was expanded to prohibit all LGBT+ “propaganda” to all audiences, whereas it initially focused only on minors. While the earlier intent seemed to erase LGBT+ presence from the collective consciousness, Russia now appears to be in denial of the very existence of these individuals.

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