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Queer symbols banned as Russia cracks down on LGBT+ activists

Queer symbols banned as Russia cracks down on LGBT+ activists

Image source: © canva
Oliwia Ruta,
02.02.2024 16:00

Last year, Russia’s Supreme Court declared what it calls "the international LGBT social movement" an extremist organisation and banned its activities across the country. Now, the first convictions in relation to the law were handed down.

Last November, Russian authorities labelled "the international LGBT social movement" as extremist. Consequently, the status and visibility of queer communities in Russia have come under scrutiny. Although the government has not explicitly specified prohibited behaviours, LGBT+ activism within the country has become increasingly challenging. Concurrently, since the onset of the war in Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin has actively championed ‘traditional values’ while simultaneously disseminating overt propaganda against LGBT+ individuals.

First sentences against LGBT+ people

Two Russian courts have handed down the first convictions in connection with what the government calls the "international LGBT social movement", which was designated as extremist last year, The Guardian reports.

On 25 January, a court in the Volgograd region found Artyom P. guilty of sharing a picture of an LGBT+ flag online. He was fined 1,000 roubles (10€) for "displaying symbols of an extremist organisation". The Russian government said the man "admitted his guilt and expressed remorse, saying that he posted the photo out of stupidity".

On 29 January, a court in Nizhny Novgorod sentenced a woman to five days in administrative detention for wearing frog-shaped earrings with an image of a rainbow. Information about the incident was shared on social media by LGBT rights activist group Aegis. According to them, the woman was summoned to the police station after a man filmed her wearing earrings and posted the footage online.

The rainbow flag is a symbol representing the queer community. A Russian law enacted last November prohibits "displaying the symbols" of organisations that the government considers extremist.

Source: The Guardian

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