LGBT struggle continues in St. PetersburgAround the World Monday, February 20th, 2012
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia – The anti-gay draft law, prohibiting the so-called propaganda of “sodomy, lesbianism, bisexualism and transgenderism” as well as pedophilia to minors, has passed in its second reading in St. Petersburg, Russia. Five activists who protested in front of the city parliament building were arrested and are still being detained.
St. Petersburg, the heart of the grassroots LGBT movement, is home to several strong LGBT organizations, including the organization Coming Out, the Russian LGBT Network and Side by Side LGBT film festival.
Similar laws have already been implemented in Ryazan in 2006, in Arkhangelsk in September 2011 and in the Kostroma region in December 2011.
If passed in St. Petersburg, this measure could be introduced in the state Duma, the federal parliament. If this law is passed, Russian LGBT people will live in fear of being punished just for being open about their sexual orientation. It also paves the way for legalized discrimination and justifies violence against LGBT people. Moreover, under the pretense of protecting minors, this law will lead to further isolation and a greater number of suicides by homosexual adolescents in a country that already has the leading number of teenage suicides.
LGBT activists in St. Petersburg are not losing hope and are continuing to fight for their rights and dignity. Ahead is the third, and final, reading, after which the bill has to be signed into law by the St. Petersburg governor, Mr. Poltavchenko.
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