Russian Embassy mocks Europeans as ‘gay pigs’ as warships taunts Bris | Daily Star

RussiaRussian Humour.

As with all reporting, you need to take a step back and try to see if it is balanced.  Lovely headlines do not make for in depth reporting.  Yes, the Russian fleet (or part of it) did sale up the North Sea; however we did know about it, it was a planned sailing, so why the big headlines from the papers.  Secondly, Russia is doing no more today than it has been doing for the last 10 plus years, and whilst the West is in disarray it will continue to do so!

If the UK, which is now going to disconnect from Europe, is worried then it needs a cohesive defence plan, not the piece meal one which it now seems to offer to its voting population.  If we have restrictions due to our balance sheet, then we must be realistic about what we can and can’t do.

For me the worrying thing in Russia, is its backward stepping in terms of LGBT rights, the rights of woman and in particular their right to a free, safe abortion when necessary.  For a country which has as its political background and current leanings Communism, it is very funny (and not funny amusing) on how much the church and indeed now outside American groups seem to be influencing Russian policy!


Russian humourSource: Russian Embassy mocks Europeans as ‘gay pigs’ as warships taunts Bris | Daily Star

Lithuania lawmakers refuse to vote for Russian-style anti-gay propaganda laws

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What It's Like To Be Young, LGBT And Vilified In Russia



Gay Voices Senior Editor, The Huffington Post

Photographer Misha Friedman takes a look inside “The Iron Closet.”


MISHA FRIEDMANShare on Pinterest

New Yorkers can get a no-holds-barred look at Russia’s beleaguered lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth as part of Brooklyn’s annual “pop-up” photography festival.

Photographer Misha Friedman, whose images have appeared in Time Magazine and The New Yorker, is bringing his exhibit, “The Iron Curtain,” to Photoville, which opened Sept. 10 in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Friedman’s photos, presented by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, represent work that the photographer conducted over several years in Russia, he told The Huffington Post in an interview. His work with individual subjects lasted “several days to years,” he said.

Russia’s stance on its LGBT residents came under intense scrutiny last year in the wake of global speculation as to how its controversial “gay propaganda” law would impact foreign athletes participating in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, as well as attendees. It also sparked the ire of Elton John, Lady Gaga and Madonna, among other A-list stars.

While the global focus has receded somewhat in the meantime, Friedman said that Russia’s LGBT community is facing more discrimination than ever. In fact, three of the subjects in his “Iron Curtain” photos have since had to leave Russia, he said, because of their sexuality.

“Just because something is not in the news does not mean its not happening,” he said.

Now in its fourth year, the 2014 edition of Photoville runs through Sept. 20, and features more than 70 exhibitions. Head here for more details.


Russia's LGBT youth left isolated, victimised by "gay propaganda" law

By Kieran Guilbert



LONDON, Sept 14 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Russian drag artist Yulianna Prosvirnina was revelling in the success of the buzzing gay and lesbian party she had organised in Moscow when a hooded mob burst into the venue.

“They stopped the party and shouted ‘Who wants to be first?'”, the 26-year-old lesbian performer said.

“Then tables started flying, glasses were breaking everywhere and girls were kicked in the stomach. Many people hid and most were so scared, too scared to stand together and defend one another,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Prosvirnina threw the ill-fated party, which saw the club trashed and four people hospitalised, just months after a law banning homosexual propaganda was passed in June 2013.

Activists say it has fuelled anti-gay abuse, discrimination and violence, spawned a “chilling effect”, and victimised young lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and deterred them from coming out and seeking support.

The Russian legislation banned the spreading of “propaganda for non-traditional sexual relations” to minors and introduced fines for individuals and organisations that breach the law, which critics describe as arbitrary and hard to implement.

The law is seen by many as one in a series of moves by President Vladimir Putin to crack down on dissent, smother civil society, and draw closer to the Russian Orthodox Church, which has spoken out against homosexuality and is one of the most influential institutions in the country.

Punishable by jail in the Soviet Union, homosexuality was decriminalised in 1993 yet much of the LGBT community remains underground and prejudice runs deep.

The law has only been enforced in a handful of cases, and Elena Klimova, the founder of one of Russia’s only online communities for LGBT youths, Deti-404, where users share stories of attacks and humiliation, was the latest person to be convicted in July and was fined 50,000 roubles (£540).

“We (LGBT people) are treated as subhuman, with no civil or human rights, we are social non-entities, and we are even considered diseased and dangerous to society,” said Prosvirnina, a self-titled drag king who goes by the stage name Iven Batler.


Tanya Cooper, Russia researcher at Human Rights Watch, said the gay propaganda law was part of a wider crackdown on civil society and anybody who challenged traditional Russian values.

Since Putin returned to the presidency in May 2012, Russia has adopted laws tightening controls on non-governmental organisations funded from abroad and barring those deemed to pose a threat to its constitutional order, defense or security.

“Activists see the propaganda law as part of a broader crackdown to create a chilling effect and clamp down on those who speak out and have opposing opinions,” Cooper said.

“But LGBT people see the law as an assault on their identity and community, driven by violence and state-sponsored homophobia flowing from television screens, radio stations, newspapers and even celebrities,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

A vigilante group “Occupy Paedophilia” has gained infamy for using Russian social media to connect with gay men and lure them into traps, attacking and humiliating them on camera then posting the videos online, where they are shared and “liked”.

In July, a video of two men being harassed, abused and threatened for walking hand-in-hand in Moscow went viral.

Another radical Orthodox group, “God’s Will”, seeks to identify pro-LGBT professionals, expose them and campaign for their dismissal.

Cooper fears the law has not only fuelled but also legitimised anti-LGBT sentiment and violence among the public.

She said victims who muster the courage to report such incidents to the police, and reveal their sexuality, are routinely dismissed and even mocked by the authorities who refuse to take violence against the LGBT community seriously.

“Before the gay propaganda law, LGBT people would not have been openly attacked in broad daylight … but now they don’t feel safe on the streets or even talking to people online.”

“The government has portrayed the LGBT community as a hazard to children while groups like Occupy Paedophilia conflate homosexuality with paedophilia … what kind of message does this send out to young LGBT people across Russia?” she said.


Activists fear the law has left young LGBT people feeling isolated and neglected in a country with a child and teenage suicide rate three times that of the global average, according to a 2013 report by Russia’s state consumer rights agency.

For LGBT youths living with HIV, the stigma surrounding their sexuality and illness means they face double discrimination and even greater anxiety, said Evgeny Pisemskiy, founder of Phoenix Plus, a Russian NGO for HIV-positive gay men.

He recalled the account of a gay 17-year-old Russian boy whose mother said she should “have got rid of him” before he was born after he was diagnosed with HIV.

“He saw a great counsellor for two months, who helped him and his mother to understand that life was not over … but as a minor today, he would not be able to receive that support under the gay propaganda law,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Although the law has led to a spike in violence and stifled much of Russia’s LGBT community, it has also brought together activists, campaigners and rights groups, according to Anastasia Smirnova, policy officer at LGBT network ILGA-Europe.

“There is more solidarity among civil society now than ever before … and LGBT rights are at the forefront of the human rights agenda. Who knows what change this might bring about?” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. (Reporting By Kieran Guilbert, Editing by Belinda Goldsmith. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking, corruption and climate change. Visit

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Kremlin Shuts Down Russia’s Only LGBT Film Festival



Government officials cited a ‘difficult economic situation,’ but organizers of the film festival see further evidence of the country’s crackdown on LGBT visibility.


Pictured: Two men kissing at the Side by Side film festival in 2012.

Less than two weeks before Russia’s only LGBT film festival was set to begin, government officials have cancelled the program, reports ThinkProgress.

Citing a “difficult economic situation,” the Kremlin’s “culture committee” rescinded funding from Moscow Premiere, a film festival that, for the past 12 years, has hosted free screenings of films addressing LGBT issues in Russia and abroad.

Moscow Premiere organizers were notified of the abrupt change in plans on Tuesday, just eight days before the festival’s scheduled launch on September 2. That letter from Kremlin officials claimed the cancellation was necessary because “the culture department of Moscow has to limit the use of budgetary resources in 2015,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.

However, the funds earmarked for Moscow Premiere have reportedly been shifted to a different, government-approved festival, organized by a Moscow city councilor who is a member of the nation’s ruling United Russia party. The new event, titled the Youth Festival of Life-Affirming Film, will reportedly feature an entirely distinct program, Moscow Premiere organizer and film critic Vyacheslav Shmyrov told a local paper.

“We cannot affiliate to the new festival — not least in terms of our self-esteem,” Shmyrov told newspaper Noviye Izvestia.

“Moscow Premiere is primarily a social festival and a charity project that exists for those people, especially the older generation, who can not afford to go to the movies,” Shmyrov added. “It is mainly a social mission.” Shmyrov does not believe he will have time to salvage any of the films that had been scheduled to screen at Moscow Premiere.

The festival’s cancellation is unfortunately par for the course in a nation that is increasingly hostile to LGBT visibility, amplified by the 2013 passage of a nationwide ban on so-called “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations,” which criminalizes any positive depiction of LGBT identities or issues in spaces that could be visible to minors.

Last year, the International Queer Culture Festival, known as QueerFest, took place in St. Petersburg, despite ominous threats from public officials and reports of physical harassment of attendees. In 2013, St. Petersburg’s Side by Side Film Festival faced bomb threats on its opening night, but ultimately carried on, screening Russian and U.S. films, including the Oscar-winning Milk, about LGBT trailblazer Harvey Milk. Side By Side Film Festival had been cancelled in 2008, with organizers given notice of the cancellation just hours before the festival was scheduled to open, but took place in 2012 and had scheduled events earlier this spring. 

Horror film highlights anti-gay problem in Russia



PYOTR495 needs your help

Introducing PYOTR495, a new genre of horror produced and directed by Toronto based filmmaker Blake Mawson. The short film uses horror techniques to shine knowledge on Russia’s LGBT Propaganda Law and the struggles gay people face every day.

Scored by Berlin techno producer, Konrad Black, the film follows gay 16 year-old Pyotr being baited by an anti-gay ultranationalist group, known for their violent abductions and attacks. Though it has hinted there may be supernatural twists, everything is on the hush as Mawson finalises the film.

PYOTR496 is relying on community support and has currently raised just under $1,500 in a online crowd funding campaign, but still needs help to raise the needed funds for release.

On the funding page, Mawson adds how the film “speaks to anyone who has ever been victimised or discriminated against for being different and to make a statement about the dangerous trend of fear-mongering and inciting hatred in our society.

He added: ”After all – what’s most terrifying? Some blood and gore? Or the hatred and lack of acceptance in our society in 2015?”

Donators have been promised gratitude for their financial support, from shoutouts on Twitter to cast member’s clothing seen in the film.

Check out the trailer below and stay up to date with the production on Twitter.

PYOTR495 – Trailer – Indiegogo from DRIVE-IN/KEEP OUT Productions on Vimeo.

Words Dean Eastmond, @deanvictorr

Reggie Yates talks LGBT life in Russia for BBC show Gay & Under Attack

Reggie Yates talks LGBT life in Russia for BBC show Gay & Under Attack

“It started to become incredibly difficult to listen…”

Russia is currently home to nearly 150 million people, ranking it one of the top 10 countries in the world based on population size.

Vladimir Putin, now into his third term as President, is facing growing sanctions from the West following his outspoken and controversial laws and views on self-expression.

A year after the introduction of the controversial anti-propaganda law, presenter Reggie Yates heads to Russia to discuss their many differing views on homosexuality, their support or objections to the LGBT community and the harsh reality facing young gay people living in the country.

Ahead of the show airing on BBC Three tonight, we caught up with the presenter to discuss the difficult world of 2015 Russia…

What was it about this show that appealed to you so much?
For me, I’m really passionate about finding areas where young people are living in tough parts of the world, and learning about those lives. Plus, I wanted to show people in the UK how different their lives are and just how fortunate they really are. And if someone can learn something off the back of it, then I’ve done a good job.

So why Russia and why now?
I think it’s down to timing. There’s a lot happening in Russia related to this, so it was a great time to act now, and that’s why this series is so poignant in this moment. It’s stripping it back and looking at the country and what’s happening to its young people. It’s about young people and the reality of their lives and to maybe even give people an idea, and possibly their parents too, as to what lives are really like there.

Before heading to Russia for the series – what were your ideas on the levels of homophobia in the country beforehand?
I was aware there was levels of homophobia in Russia before, but I had no idea the real extent. But I was shocked! I wasn’t expecting it to be as hard for young people. I didn’t think they’d be quite so far behind us here in the UK.

Do the levels of homophobia in the country cover the majority or minority or its citizens?
I’d hate to make a massively sweeping judgement based on my time there, as I didn’t speak to everyone. But, what I can say is that not everybody has the beliefs based on the homophobic people that we spoke to. This programme is called Extreme Russia for a reason, as these really are people with extreme views and I’m certain they don’t represent everybody. Their views are scary and it does make you wonder just exactly how extreme these views are.

So who did you meet?
Without giving too much away before the show goes live, I met people that have been attacked, victimised and also people that are doing everything in their power to change the situation by educating, but also by running events.

But on the other side to that, we did also meet the people who are the homophobes and the people that do have ridiculously shocking attitudes towards the LGBT community – and my priority was to show both sides of the coin and not go in judging anybody, as I wanted to try and understand both sides where possible. I wanted to know why these men and women felt the way that they did.

One of the people you met during your time was Dayra. Give us a preview of her story…
What happened to her was just awful. She was stabbed for being gay. She wasn’t helped or aided by the police and was essentially treated disgustingly by everyone. She was really made to feel like an outcast and that was just disgusting what had happened to her. But for me, it was important to reflect her story and get it out there. If you’re in the LGBT community in Russia, you’re in a dangerous position if you live your life out in the open.

It’s an unbelievable thing really in 2015, with people not able to be who they want to be in public because of fear of their own safety. That was the thing that scared me most.

You also met a young male couple that are together yet one pretends to have a girlfriend….
Yes I did. Their fear came from them being open and their world crumbling around them if it became public knowledge. Their business may be taken away from them from this anti-propaganda law and their family may disown them because of their religious beliefs as well. These guys are an amazing young couple, with a local business and doing brilliant things, yet they have to operate under this cloud of secrecy.

Once this story is broadcast tonight – do either couple have a fear of officials in Russia hearing their story now they’ve spoken out?
Everybody involved is aware that this show may end up online and people may see it in Russia, but that wasn’t the important thing for many. They wanted people on the other side of the world to see their story and know about it, and see just how tough things are in their world. That was their important message.

In one part of the show, you also ended up in a sauna…
Yeah, that was bizarre. There was a traditionalist that I met who ended up actually beating me with a stick. It was a pretty crazy thing to end up happening but you can see why on the show.

And finally, you also met with pressure group God’s Will – whose message is to stone members of the LGBT community to death. Couldn’t have been an easy chat?
No – not at all! With me, I like to let people from both sides put their message across so it’s fair and almost hang their own selves with the message they’re portraying. But, this message was just so offensive with the words being said that I couldn’t listen to it for that long. Eventually, I ended up just walking away from the conversation. It started to become incredibly difficult to listen to that message.

Reggie Yates’ Extreme Russia: Gay & Under Attack airs on BBC Three tonight – 20 April – at 9pm.

More information can be found here.

ILGA – New report shows homosexual criminalizing countries dropping from 92 to 76 in last decade

By John Mack Freeman

ilgaA new study from ILGA shows that the number of countires that criminalize homosexuality has dropped from 92 to 76 from 2005 to 2015. Some of the top sheet results include:

  • there are 117 countries (UN Members) where same sex sexual acts between adults in private are legal. Mozambique and Palau have decriminalised same-sex acts in 2014 and Lesotho in 2010.
  • there are 76 countries where same-sex sexual acts are still illegal. Chad introduced a new Penal Code in 2014, punishing anyone who has sex with persons of the same sex.
  • In relation to death penalty, eight States officially legislate for it, but only five (Mauritania, Sudan, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Yemen) actually implement it, but a sixth State, Iraq, although not in the civil code, clearly has judges and militias throughout the country that issue the death sentence for same-sex sexual behaviours. Further, some provinces in Nigeria and Somalia officially implement the death penalty. We are also aware that in the Daesh(ISIS/ISIL)-held areas the death penalty is implemented (although a non-State actor, it is listed in the report). Brunei Darussalam is due to activate the death penalty for same sex sexual acts in 2016, but it seems likely that like Pakistan, Afghanistan and Qatar although it is on the statute, it will not be implemented.
  • Regarding the recent legal practice, emerging from Russian provinces first in 2006, to criminalise the ‘propaganda of homosexuality’, it is with some relief that we note that in fact to date only four countries actually appear to have adopted this on their statute books: Algeria, Lithuania, Nigeria and Russia.
  • Discrimination in employment based on sexual orientation is now prohibited in 63 countries, including Chile (2012), Samoa (2013), Namibia (2004) and city of Buenos Aires in Argentina (2015).
  • A total of 7 countries have a constitutional prohibition to discrimination based on sexual orientation, including Mexico (2011) and Virgin Islands (2007) – associate of the United Kingdom
  • Hate crimes based on sexual orientation are considered an aggravating circumstance in 34 countries. Laws in this respect have been identified in several European countries, including Andorra (2005), parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina (2013), Iceland (2004), Kosovo (2013), Lithuania (2009), Montenegro (2010), Norway (1994), Serbia (2012), Slovakia (2013), Slovenia (2008).
  • Incitement of hatred based on sexual orientation is prohibited in 31 countries. Austria has introduced such law in 2011, Hungary in 2013, Montenegro in 2010 and Switzerland in 2015.
  • Marriage is open for same-sex couples in 18 countries, including in Luxembourg and Slovenia, both in 2015. The state of Coahuila in Mexico and 19 further states in the United States of America have passed same-sex marriage laws in 2014, bringing the total number of states legislating for marriage equality to 37 (plus the District of Columbia). Finland approved a marriage equality law in 2015 that will come into force in 2017, while Estonia approved a similar law in 2014, to come into force in 2016.
  • Joint adoption by same-sex couples is legal in 19 countries. It was legalised in Luxemburg and Malta in 2014, and in Austria , Ireland and Slovenia in 2015.

Sweden’s ‘Singing Sailor’ underwater defence system


Republished from Gay Times –

Swedish peace group use gay sailor sign to thrust away Russian submarines

The Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society (SPAS) has employed a new underwater ‘defence system’ strategy, that has taken the form of a neon sign depicting a gay sailor, wearing nothing but a pair of briefs and his hat.

Sweden hit headlines last year when it launched the most expensive military underwater operation in recent years, when it spotted a foreign submarine (widely thought to be Russian) in its waters.

The idea was developed to fend off vessels from Russia, a country that does not share the same accepting views on homosexuality, having introduced anti-‘gay propaganda’ laws in 2013.

The bright pink sign has earned the name, the “Singing Sailor,” and was developed as a ‘cheaper alternative’ to the 10.2 billion Kronor (£785 million) worth of strategies, that have already been spent on Sweden’s defences.

The gyrating sailor is surrounded by glowing hearts, as well as English and Russian captions that read “Welcome to Sweden. Gay since 1944,” referring to the year that homosexuality was legalised in the country. The message “this way if you are gay,” is also delivered through the water, in morse code.

Words Christopher McParlan, @chrismcparlan

Kyrgyz LGBT center victim of arson attack


Reprinted from GLBT News

By John Mack Freeman

The headquarters of LGBT group Labrys was attacked with explosives in Kyrgyzstan on April 10, 2015. The attack comes amid a climate that is rapidly becoming more hostile towards LGBT people. Kyrgyzstan is considering a “gay propaganda” law similar to the one on the books in Russia. The attacked organization has said they have seen an increase in anti-LGBT violence since the proposal of the law.

Via PinkNews:

Senior Policy director Richard Köhler said in a statement: “Space for civil society is shrinking in many states of the former Soviet Union. We watch this trend with growing concern, as authorities deliberately fail to protect minority groups.

“Debating homo- and transphobic laws creates the atmosphere to hunt trans and LGBTIQ people and put their lives at risk.”

Co-chair Alecks Recher says: “We expect the Kyrgyz government to clearly speak out against homo- and transphobic hatred, assert that LGBTIQ people equally belong to Kyrgyz society, and to withdraw the proposed law. The Council of Europe should do everything in its power to budge its democratic partner to ensure safety and human rights for different groups in Kyrgyz society, including LGBTIQ people.”