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Gay Protesters Attacked and Detained in Russia

Gay Protesters Attacked and Detained in Russia

While New Yorkers and many others celebrated the historic victory for gay marriage in last night, a handful of Russian protesters participating in an unsanctioned gay pride rally were detained and potentially attacked in St. Petersburg.  Photos of the event are available via the Huffington Post, showing that while slow progress is being made in the United States toward LGBT equality, there are still significant challenges and levels of homophobia, even among the United States’ allies.  According to the Associated Press, a photographer saw individuals attack the protesters as the police moved in.

The arrests were probably no surprise to the Russian gay rights activists, given the fact that there has been significant and repeated hostility toward their cause.  A recent New York Times article detailed the results of a recent attempted pride parade held in Moscow last month.

“Most [protesters] were arrested seconds after unfurling a rainbow flag or a placard denouncing homophobia,” wrote Michael Schwirtz.  ”Gangs of muscular men wearing surgical masks and yelling antigay slurs chased away the rest.”

Russian politicians are willing to speak out vocally against gay rights.  ”This is a very dangerous thing,” said Aleksandr Khinshtein, a member of Parliament.  ”Homosexuality can never be allowed to be considered normal. It’s a question of survival.”  And according to the article, “People who are openly gay can be fired from work with impunity. Discussion of same-sex marriage and gay adoption is largely taboo.”

The state of gay rights in Russia shows that while we should celebrate New York’s embrace of marriage equality, we need to support those – both within and without the U.S. – who are fighting for basic rights.  And there are many who seem to be galvanized by the victory in New York to demand the same for their own states or countries.  French protesters took to the streets more successfully, using the New York decision to criticize the French legislature’s rejection of a similar measure earlier this month.  While they did not suffer violence, their presence indicates that when it comes to gay rights, there’s still a lot more work to be done.

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

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7:46PM PDT on Aug 19, 2012

Yes the laws are stupid over in Russia, but if you go over there follow the laws! Simple as that, don't be a Maddona!

9:18AM PDT on Aug 19, 2012

Grazie delle notizie.

8:51AM PDT on Apr 28, 2012

Good for Russia, better place to live with young family, no gays! good for Russians !

6:12AM PDT on Jul 19, 2011

Not surprised. The Russian Orthodox Church is against gay rights.

11:53AM PDT on Jun 28, 2011

Congrats to NY State but there is still much more to do so that being gay is just no big deal.

9:04AM PDT on Jun 27, 2011

Horray for New York! But this artilce shows how much more still needs to be done GLOBIALLY to end INEQUALITY in the world.

12:37AM PDT on Jun 27, 2011

If your gay your gay. Being gay is not a disease. This is what people have to understand. If it is normal for me to love a man since I am a woman it is just as normal for someone else to love a woman being a woman or to love a man being a man. This is something that comes naturally for gays that's how they feel. And why not? Gays are just as much the same as you and me. They have feelings like all of us, they are able to be doctors, lawyers among other professions I really don't see any difference except in their relationships. Let these people be, let them love, live, work and play. That's what we all want and so do they.

10:33PM PDT on Jun 26, 2011

This is truly absurd. These people just want equal rights, yet they get treated like criminals? All because they like/love a person of the same sex?

2:59PM PDT on Jun 26, 2011

Will people ever just love each other? I feel like there is so much hate in this world and not enough love. It makes me sad.

2:46PM PDT on Jun 26, 2011

The ignorance of some, hatred of others never stops amazing me.

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