Europe

Putin signs law banning expressions of LGBTQ identity in public

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Russian President Vladimir V. Putin stepped up his crackdown on LGBTQ people on Monday, when he signed new legislation that largely bans public expression of their identity in the country.

New law makes it illegal to spread ‘propaganda’ about ‘non-traditional sex’ in the media, advertising, films or on social networks. It had been passed in the Duma, the Russian parliament, by a vote of 397 to 0 on November 24.

Demonstrations of “Non-traditional relationships or preferences” will also be completely excluded from advertising and any outlets visible to minors. Dissemination to minors of any information “that causes children to want to change their sex” was also prohibited.

The law is likely to put new pressure on a community that has already been widely stigmatized in a country where authorities have made a crackdown on LGBTQ expression part of a larger fight to protect Russia from interference. western.

Mr. Putin has long chosen LGBTQ life as a Western intrusion into traditional Russian society and values, and Supporters of the new law have recently compared the fight against LGBTQ expression to Russia’s military actions in Ukraine, which they see as a larger civilizational clash between them and the West.

“We have our own path to development, we don’t need the European imposition of non-traditional relations,” said Nina Ostanina, chair of the Committee on Family, Women and Children, during parliamentary hearings on the legislation.

Russia has banned “propaganda of non-traditional sex” to minors since 2013, with heavy fines or suspension of business activities for Russians, and deportation from the country for foreigners found guilty. The new law extends the ban on such propaganda to all adults.

Since 2013, just over 100 cases have ended up in court, according to an analysis by a Russian lawyer, Maksim Olenichev, but experts said its biggest impact was to brand the community as inappropriate, making it more invisible and subject to abuse. The new law is likely to drive the LGBTQ community further underground, opponents have said.

The new law also contains a ban on paedophilia propaganda, and leading independent news site Meduza said the combination ‘looks like an attempt to equate homosexuality and pedophilia’ .

“The banning of ‘LGBT propaganda’ is a big deal,” said Alena Popova, a human rights activist with the group Coming Out. “Now this vulnerable group is in an even more vulnerable position.”

It is unclear what the word “propaganda” means in the context of the law, but the 2013 law said it took the form of “dissemination of information aimed at the formation of non-traditional sexual attitudes among minors”. Imposing information about such relationships “that arouses interest in such relationships” also amounts to propaganda, according to the law, as does spreading “the distorted idea of ​​the social equivalence of traditional sexual relationships”. and non-traditional”.

Fines for “propaganda” non-traditional sexual relationships or preferences can reach around $6,400 for citizens and $80,000 for organizations.

Roskomnadzor, Russia’s powerful internet regulator, will monitor the internet to identify news and programs that are affected by the ban on LGBTQ “propaganda” and paedophilia, according to Russian news agency Tass.

The law also prohibits the issuance of a rental or streaming certificate for films whose material promotes non-traditional sexual relationships and preferences.

Even before the legislation was signed, Russians in the LGBTQ community feared that it might be more difficult for them to continue living in a country that stifles the expression of political and social opinions and personal identities that the Kremlin disapproves of.

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nytimes Eur

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