September 1-15

Sept 1

if even Bloomberg News foresees danger of brand damage then I guess that’s what counts “Unless the IOC acts, sponsors such as Coca-Cola Co., McDonald’s Corp. and Visa Inc. will be tied to an officially anti-gay Olympics.”

Big demo in Berlin yesterday.

novaya gazeta: flyers-in-apartments in Rostov on Don

Very good piece with many interviews with young people. from the Guardian “In a series of interviews with young homosexuals, the Guardian found that widespread fear means their relationships are nearly always clandestine and abuse is commonplace. As well as vigilante violence, they are also scared of negative reactions from family and friends. And if life in Moscow and St Petersburg is hard enough, then in the Russian provinces homosexuality is the love that dare not even whisper its name. … Recently an MP in the Siberian region of Zabaikalsk called for a law allowing gays to be publicly flogged by Cossacks.”

Human rights first report re G20

Sept 2

I think there have been 2 convictions under the regional propaganda bans. One in March 2009 in Ryazan and another in St Petersburg in April 2012.

“In March 2009, two activists [in Ryazan oblast] were detained and fined for protesting against homophobia using placards (“homosexuality is normal”, “I’m proud of my homosexuality”). They appealed but the Constitutional Court rejected their complaint. The Court said: “In itself the ban on this kind of propaganda – activities toward the purposeful and unregulated dissemination of information that could pose harm to health and moral and spiritual development, like forming distorted ideas about social equivalence between traditional and non-traditional marriage – among those who do not have the benefit of age to evaluate this kind of information independently, cannot be considered a violation of the constitutional rights of citizens.” This decision has now used by other legislators to defend the “homosexual propaganda” bans. One of the activists, Irina Fedotova, currently has a case pending before the UN Human Rights Committee. Another has filed an application with the European Court of Human Rights.

• St. Petersburg
Since the adoption of the ban in St. Petersburg, several individuals have been arrested:
– The first arrests made in St. Petersburg on the basis of the “propaganda” law took place on April 5th. However no charges were brought.
– On April 7th, two activists participating in a day of silent protest were arrested. They held a
sign that read “There is no silencing of crimes against gays and lesbians.” However, the court did not receive any police reports mentioning a violation of the “anti-propaganda” laws by the activists, so the court did not consider the propaganda law.
– On April 12th, an LGBT activist was arrested in front of the municipal administration building for solitary picketing. On May 5th, he was found guilty of “propaganda” by a magistrate court. On June 6th, the Smolninsky District Court upheld the ruling of the magistrate. The activist paid a fine of 5000 rubles.
– On May 1st, 17 people were arrested under the “homosexual propaganda” ban during a pro- democracy march for displaying rainbow flags and other such symbols. However, the police ended up charging the detained for shouting anti-Putin slogans and failure to comply with the police, and no mention of propaganda was made. The judge returned the case back to police for further investigation. The case must be brought to court by July 1st.

LGBT organisations have started to challenge the bans, and in one instance, were successful: – On May 24th, the St. Petersburg Municipal Court rejected a petition by the LGBT organization “Coming Out” claiming that the “homosexuality propaganda” law was in violation of federal law. An appeal will be made to the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation by the end of June.
– On May 31st, the Smolninsky District Court ruled that the St. Petersburg Central District Administration acted unlawfully when it denied approval of two LGBT demonstrations – the Day of Silence (April 7th) and the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (May 17th). The newly enacted St. Petersburg law prohibiting “homosexual propaganda” was the basis for both denials.
– On June 6th, a petition was made to the St. Petersburg Charter Court to consider the incompatibility of the “propaganda” law with the St. Petersburg city by-laws providing for equal rights on the basis of nationality and freedoms of religious choice and convictions.” from

the social effects are increased fear, the chilling effect on speech, and sanction/impunity given to those who commit anti LGBTQ violence: “Several LGBT organisations and other human rights organisations are closely monitoring the implementation of the laws and regulations. As of June 2012, documented cases of the impact of the “homosexual propaganda” bans included:
• Freedom of expression and assembly: several individuals were arrested, in some cases detained and/or fined in Ryazan (in 2009) and in St. Petersburg (spring 2012) under the “homosexual propaganda” bans (see the country-per-country annexes at the end of this briefing paper)
• Access to goods and services: the Russian LGBT Network reported that clubs have refused to rent them premises for events, even when children were clearly not amongst the potential participants
• Violence targeting LGBT people: A Ukrainian LGBT rights organisation reported that attacks against LGBT activists have severely increased around the May LGBT festivals and cultural events (spring 2012). These events took place at a time when the draft law was starting to be debated in Parliament.
• Media and access to information: The Russian LGBT Network stated that local media had stopped covering its activities because they were afraid of being sued. In many cases, owners of local media would not be in a position to pay fines if found guilty of violating the law.

In addition to the consequences which have been observed thus far, the ICJ and ILGA-Europe fear the negative impact the bans may have in many other spheres of life. Possible consequences of the bans include:
• Prohibiting the dissemination of any information on sexual diversity. In practice, the scope of this prohibition might expand to any information on sexual education, including the emotional aspects of sexual relationships, sexual and reproductive rights and safe sex techniques. This would curtail the activities of organisations that provide information and counseling on sexual and reproductive health, including prevention of sexually transmittable infections and other services which benefit everyone regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
• Monitoring of all local and international media by public authorities. Owners of newspapers willing to provide information on sexual diversity issues or opposing those laws might not have sufficient resources to pay substantial fines repetitively. In addition, even the sales of international newspapers might be severely impacted, as they regularly comprise articles referring to LGBT issues or sexual and reproductive rights. It is also likely that those laws will hinder access to many websites.
• Reinforcing the climate of stigmatisation of LGBT youth, in particular in schools. This would contribute to homophobic and transphobic bullying, as well as to undermining the mental and physical well-being of many young people.
• Legitimising discrimination by employers, service providers, health practitioners, teachers and other stakeholders against people on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. Stripped of their right to freedom of expression, LGBT people will be even less likely to file complaints against or speak out to protest such discrimination.
•Censoring cultural goods and services that make positive reference to homosexuality (even on an ad-hoc basis). Books, movies, exhibitions or songs that would refer, even in general terms, to homosexuality would not be authorised.
Many companies in various sectors may also be impacted by those laws as soon as they produce goods or provide services that may be seen as touching on to LGBT issues (“rainbow” in the name, or in the logo) or even if they allude to sexuality or mere feelings between young people (advertising for instance).” (From same report, June 2012)

If you want to feel depressed read this article on increasing violence in the Ukraine. “The [Kiev chapter of Occupy Pedophilia] group uses social networks to organize and communicate and disseminate its videos of the confrontations, referred to as ‘safaris.’ It attracts new members by allowing them to take part. Occupy Pedofilyay Kyiv’s page says it costs $15 dollars to participate in a safari.”

I can’t read this but it’s an update on one of the two activist test cases. Courts and police seem reluctant to give activists convictions to take to human rights courts and committees.

I’ve been reading this Anton Krasovsky interview which describes his complicity in creating some of this media hate: “Sokolova: … while watching this show I was feeling very deep and sincere sympathy towards you. It was like you were standing among a moving crowd of demons. I could almost feel their stench. Krasovsky: Yes, it was pretty much like that. It is always like that! During all these shows I always feel like I’m stuck in the middle of a cloud of hypocrite smoke. And it’s not about these shows – the thing is that when I take, say, a position of chief editor of another state-controlled channel, and at this time it was not just state-controlled, but exactly pro-Kremlin one, I’m trying to play exactly the same game. Sokolova: What do you mean? Krasovsky: I think Ksenia Sobchak would understand me. And, I guess, so would Leonid Parfenov. And many others. This is a struggle between your own conformism, love for nice Chablis and some kind of truth that breaks in and you can’t hide from it. There is a moment when you see everything very clearly and you think sadly to yourself: “God, this Chablis is so yummy”, but then you go on and say out loud things that are expected from you.” from

Ghost of drama past: cause alekseev won’t go to Obama meeting he’s calling it Jewish

@n_alexeyev: I just denied to take part in the sham conference call of @0discrimination with US journalists tomorrow. Jewish lobby in US worked well.

“@ n_alexeyev: How to translate accurately the word and its meaning is ” Jew” into English? And then the American jewish mafia does not understand.” (Google translate from Russian)

@n_alexeyev: Tomorrow London protest “Love Russia, hate homophobia”. We suggest “Love Jews, hate jids (kikes)!”

@n_alexeyev: Jids are pissed. It’s not them who suffered for LGBT fight in Russia. But on the Olympics wave they thought they can overtake it! No way!

Dimka’s list
This is a list of Rusian LGBT organizations (I’m deliberately not using the “Q”, since it doesn’t really have much meaning in the Russian context today) and their contact information for anyone who is interested. I’m going to break it into three posts:

-”Rainbow Association” – Moscow-based they political organization that mainly organizes demonstrations and discussions related to LGBT rights. Most of their activists are leftists (socialists/communists) and they always mention workers’ rights and anti-capitalism in their messages on placards and in shouts. They also try to get involved in demos organized by other leftist political orgs. and participated in anti govt. demos of the last 2 years, carrying rainbow flags.

-”Coming Out” – St. Petersburg-based NGO that provides free-of-charge legal & psychological assistance to LGBT people; facilitates discussions and creates/distributes educational materials.

-”Side by Side” – LGBT International Film Festival based in St. Petersburg, but they often organize screening & discussion panels in other cities.

-” / Russian National Center “Together” ” – largest LGBT news and entertainment portal, very vibrant with a lot of viewers, comments, forums and ads for gay clubs/bars/saunas/shops etc. in Moscow and across the country. There is a sister-website “” that is operated by the same organization, but it’s in Russian only and the content is nearly identical.

-”LaSky [trans. Caressing]” – NGO dedicated to promoting safe-sex education for men who have sex with men. They operate in 10 regions of Russia and as far as I understand – have outreach services there and organize educational info sessions on prevention and dealing with HIV/AIDS and STDs.
Their message system is a bit tricky, you’d have to use google-translate for the captcha instructions:

-”Russian LGBT Network” – they mainly do legal advocacy work and help coordinate many regional organizations. They also participate in protests and organize discussions.

-”St. Petersburg LGBT Pride” – they organize pride events in St. Petersburg and do some advocacy work and organize discussions. They were the first (and I think the only) LGBT organization in Russia to receive a permit to have a pride demonstration in the center of St. Petersburg. It happened in 2011, if I remember correctly, and it only lasted for about 15 minutes, because a group of neo-nazis showed up out of nowhere, threw eggs at them and ran away, and the cops took the protesters away on the bus, “for safety reasons”.

-”Straights for Equality” – based in St. Petersburg, they mostly organize demonstrations for LGBT rights.

There are two main LiveJournal pages dedicated to LGBT issues.
Both pages are in Russian only, but I think that it’s possible to contact their admins:

-The first LJ page is “Antidogma”:
They also have a Facebook account:

-The second is “Grani [trans. borders\verges]: Social-political borders of LGBT”
And this is the admin account of the page:

There are three political parties/movements that I often see come out in support of LGBT rights.

-The first is the youth wing of the oldest liberal party “Yabloko [Apple]”, that only has representatives in the St. Petersburg (Leningrad) regional legislature. They are a minor party that doesn’t seem to have any chance of getting back into the “big” parliamentary politics, but still they are probably the best known liberal party in Russia:

-The other party is “Russian Socialist Movement (RSD)”, a Trotskyist-communist party, something like the “Socialist Alternative” in US, never entered any level of govt, but they do have a noticeable presence in left demonstrations and marches and they always march next to the rainbow column, because all too often they need to defend it from Stalinists and sometimes even manarchists who try to take the rainbow flags away (website in Russian only):
The best email to contact them would be: , this is the main Moscow branch adress.

-Communist Workers’ International (CWI) branch in Russia is tightly connected with RSD and they have the same views on LGBT issues. This is the page of their news publication (in Russian only):
And the email is:

I think that I can also publish the contact information of a few LGBT activists, since they are out and proud and came out publicly on TV or otherwise, so I really don’t think that there is a threat to their life or that mentioning them here would violate their privacy:

-The first activist and journalist is Elena Kostyuchenko, a “Novaya Gazeta” newspaper journalist who participated in internationally publicized LGBT protests in central Moscow several times:

The next 4 activists are organizers for “Rainbow Association” and activists in other organizations:

-Sergey Gubanov:

-Pavel Samburov:

-Jenia Otto:
She is also one of the main activists of Moscow CWI and she was one of the few leftists to get elected into the “Opposition Coordination Council” in 2012, the main anti-govt. organization that exists in Russia today.

-Igor Iasine:
Also an activist of Moscow CWI, works at RT, participated in elections for “Opposition Coordination Council”, was the only openly gay man to participate in the debates preceding the election, however he was not able to gain enough votes. Recently I’ve seen an English-language discussion panel with him, Anton Krasovsky and 2 other people from US. I think it was on CNN, but I just can’t find it anywhere.

-Another activist who participates in “Rainbow Association” events is Sergey Ilupin, but I don’t think that he is one of the organizers:
He came out publicly on MTV Russia about a year ago, in a short-lived talk show that looked awful, since way too many guests were invited, and thus any chance to have meaningful discussion was destroyed. The show he participated in was dedicated to the crackdown on LGBT people in Russia.

-Masha Gessen is a famous journalist, both in Russia and the West, though I’m not sure if she can be described as an activist. She is openly lesbian and does write about LGBT issues in Russia extensively, many links to her articles were already posted in this thread:

-And last but not least is Anton Krasovsky. He was fired from his job as a TV host on a relatively small pro-Kremlin internet TV channel after he not only came out during live broadcast, but also “dared” to say that he is a human being just like president Putin and premier Medvedev. He appeared on several programs in English language media recently, though for me it’s hard to call him an activist yet. Not that it really matters so much.

Now, with so many names of organizations and people, I hope that no one will have to think about Alexeyev ever again 🙂
Oh, and I’m not acquainted with any of the people I mentioned, I just follow the news from and about them.

Sept 3

An interview with an increasingly hypernationalist Alekseev on Alekseev: “Americans do not help the LGBT community in Russia, but simply undermine it »

Also today (not great timing)

And this happened too back on August 22:

Sept 4

My twitter compendium is below. I found the English version of very helpful. It’s at The HIV org will have an English site at

Rainbow association

Coming out st p

Side by Side

Russian lgbt network

St Petersburg gay pride organizing committee
Yuri gavrikov
/gayury on Facebook

Straights for Equality



Communist workers international

Some links where I couldn’t find twitter accounts:

Yabloko in English

Russian socialist movement rsd

Here are the individuals’ accounts and some web pages. This is just the names on Dimka’s list.

Elena kostyuchenko

Sergey gubanov
As “Adam” @adichek

Pavel Samburov
Fb. /pavel.samburov

Igor Kochetkov

Jenia Otto

Igor Iasine

Sergei ilupin

Masha gessen

Anton Krasovsky

Religious violence at a Pride in May in Georgia (with video) “In Georgia, the Georgian Orthodox Church led thousands of the faithful to block a gay rights rally last May here in Tbilisi, the nation’s capital. They carried signs, they sang hymns and they carried stinging nettles to thrash gay people. Then they broke through police lines. Chanting ‘Kill them, kill them,’ protesters mobbed a minibus in which gay activists took refuge….”

Photo album of Russians thanking solidarity activists for the events in 35 cities yesterday.

So Kochetkov will meet Obama tomorrow. He is quoted here. There’s a long thread on Igor iasine’s Fb about whether russian LGBTQ should meet Putin or not. I can’t read Russian but it seems passionate (200 comments in 8 hours) maybe Dimka saw?

The BBC has a news video on the violence that’s here in English but also with Russian narration on bbc Russia too. Good polled its readers about who should meet with Putin. “About 50% of respondents expect that Vladimir Putin will immediately [invite] several leaders of gay organizations. About 30 % would send the Russian champions [from the] Gay Games in Antwerp in the summer of 2013. Kochetkov’s chances are roughly the same as those of the transvestite diva Zaza Napoli – from 25 to 27%. Next is Michael Lucas, a gay activist and entrepreneur from America – a little more than 16%. Finally, Nikolai Alekseev, who yesterday sent a letter to Putin with a request for a personal meeting, drew about 7% of the vote.” This is Zaza Napoli

Alekseev seeks to meet Putin

Wow … looks like Alekseev has inspired a really great prose stylist to write something hilarious yet painful. Oleg Kashin’s article is here: I recommend translating it and reading in full. Quote: “What was Nikolai Alekseev until last week? Noted LGBT activist, the keynote speaker for the homosexual issue for anyone who ever needed a Speaker on the issue. Producers on news radio stations (usually girls from the Faculty of Journalism, found a job, sit by the phone waiting because if they sit well, then they will be transferred to lead news) know that if you want to talk about gays on the air, then it is necessary to call Alekseev. ‘Hello, Nicholas, comment on it?’ – And Nicholas says, everyone is happy.

And now, so it will not be because Nikolai Alekseev is not anymore. There are refusing to admit to activism a weird man who says something anti-Semitic, actively operating the word ‘Jew.’ The word ‘Jew’ – a wonderful word in the sense that it is possible to say it only once, and the second time it won’t work, no one will listen. You wake up in a dark room, and it’s just you and the colonel Kvachkov. And you are used to Elton John and Ludmila Alexeeva, but now they aren’t there – it’s only Colonel Kvachkov and even some of the order of nameless people that just think about Jews and are available to talk. Well, also about the Holy Rus, if you’re lucky. Life is over, actually. You are no longer going to gay parades, there are no more calls from the radio, – old friends on smsku do not respond. There will be nothing at all.

They say he somehow hurt someone, some Americans, a lecture, whether that was canceled, and that’s the way he reacted to it, that he freaked out. I do not believe in this version at all – each of us has at least once in a lifetime freaked out, but who at the same time shouts ‘Jews’? No, there is something more serious and deep …”

Sept 5

more on the custody question. I’m unaware of other countries that categorically deny queer people custody. Many countries ban same-sex-couple adoption. Mississippi and Utah have statutory bans on same sex second parent adoption. Florida’s ban on gay adoption was repealed in 2010. But I don’t know of other laws that categorically declare lgbt people unfit parents whose biological children should be taken away. I’d like info if they exist.

In the Washington Post …

This seems useful: “The speakers were both gay and straight, and were veteran activists in the fight to liberate the Soviet Jewish community, which faced oppression during the Cold War. The speakers came forward to offer their expertise to the local LGBT community, which has been united in its condemnation of the harsh anti-gay propaganda law signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin.”

and the actual Duma bill$FILE/338740-6.PDF?OpenElement apparently American social scientist Mark Regnerus has been mentioned … did antigay parenting study for UTexas Austin

Pretty good coverage

this is a less publicized movement, to get California pension funds to divest from Russia or never invest there in the first place. it’s not different in kind from a boycott.

Russian LGBTQ will out closeted Duma members who vote against lgbtq rights

Sept 6

a prominent human rights lawyer has come out as trans she had been attacked for her work and even poisoned in the past

Kirchick on Alekseev

Photo of Obama and lgbtq activists (not named) here however the big guns of human rights didn’t go because the meeting had been rescheduled too many times

Masha Gessen says us must grant Russian LGBTQ asylum on a fast track

Sept 7

On non coverage of Jamaica, Belarus, Iran and Turkey Iran has apparently criminalized male-male kissing and making out. Was news to me: “veteran Iran watcher Hossein Alizadeh at the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) [said] ‘The new Iranian Penal code that was passed by the Guardian Council of the Constitution in Iran on May 1, 2013, states, ‘male homosexuality , in other cases rather than lavat [sodomy] and tafkhiz [rubbing penis between another man’s tights without penetration], such as passionate kissing and lustful touching – is punishable by 31 to 74 punitive lashes of 6th degree.’ [Article 237]. The wording of the law [such as..] allows the judge to consider any other ‘homosexual’ conduct – whether imaginary or real – as deserving punishment …. This vague law, in practice, paves the way for the punishment of anyone arrested on suspicion of homosexuality, but can’t be tried on sodomy charges due to the lack of evidence.’ “

Touching video of encouragement from a gay man in Chile. Both political and personal.

The human rights lawyer Masha Bast (link to her coming out story is above) has been or is the lawyer for a transman Roman Sorokin who seems to be being persecuted by the state. Accused of robbing his girlfriend and told he wouldn’t have a lawyer … ?? I posted his story way upthread cause he has applied for political asylum in Paris. Bast has been framed or falsely accused of kidnapping Sorokin for driving him to the airport. Bast also seems involved with effort to create a European Magnitsky list and put the antigay legislators on it.

English language press on Masha Bast. I get the impression that she’s the most accomplished and experienced person in the lgbt field right now.

This adds quite a bit of detail and fact.

Sept 11

This is part 1 of inteview with Roman Sorokin

Part 2 of Interview with Roman Sorokin, Russian transman in Paris seeking political asylum against government repression. Not in English.

Igor Iasine supposedly picked up a semi-closeted member of the Duma on Grindr and did this (anonymous) interview. The official, who voted for the law, explains its history. I can’t trust if it’s real or fiction due to the scrambling of google translate. At the end the legislator says he will attend a Pride in Europe. He also says that he has pangs of conscience. Iasine says he felt too “unsettled” for sex but they might reschedule.

Sept 12

Scott Long on Johnny Weir
“None of this is the stuff of successful campaigning. It’s the raw material for personal catharsis, not change. And in fact, despite all the urgent talk of concentration camps and gas chambers, the Russia campaigns aren’t going swimmingly. The anti-Stoli side of the boycott came in for withering ridicule in last week’s New York Times. More importantly, nothing in Putin’s Russia has budged; new, worse law proposals keep coming.”

Meanwhile, in Lithuania “Five separate anti-gay and anti-trans bills are set to be considered in the Lithuanian parliament later this year, including a ban on gender reassignment, a ban on same-sex adoption, regulations of public events, and a legalisation of anti-gay hate speech.”

And the Masha Bast video blogs (they have subtitles) #1 #2 #3 plus her interview in the Moscow Times

a demo tomorrow in Paris Also the German group enough is enough is asking people to post their gif’s on the Facebook pages of Olympic sponsors. they rotate among the sponsors, and assign each a day … yesterday was Samsung. Something to participate in if you agree.

Voice of America Moscow video on culture clash dynamics

Sept 13

Masha Gessen on Anderson Cooper, she says that Putin’s crackdown has two elements, one is on (perceived) foreign agents. Putin sees lgbt as the ultimate foreign agents. Debate addresses boycott and whether anti lgbtq wave is top down or bottom up within Russia in 2013.

Sept 14

Pretty good article in CWI publication about the similarities and differences between the ban on gay propaganda to minors and Britain’s section 28: “Just a month after the adoption of the law, in January 1988, a coalition of trade unions [formed] against Paragraph 28. [It] addressed the issue of lesbian and gay people from the class [perspective], as a matter of the labor movement, and united employees, regardless of sexual orientation. It organized many pickets, demonstrations, and the question of discrimination of LGBT actively [connected] with women’s rights, including abortion…. Xenophobic propaganda always has as its purpose to conceal the real economic and social problems …the difference [is] the level of organization of the working class. Russian workers, most of whom are not unionized and do not have a tradition of struggle, as in Britain – the consequences of Stalinism, its decay and neoliberal reforms. At the same time, there is no LGBT social crisis centers and hotlines, which were organized by the municipal councils in Britain. Perspective, however, [shows the two situations to be] the same: either the ruling class will continue to solve their problems at the expense of workers and young people, [dividing with] xenophobic propaganda, or a mass movement will end it, and the regime itself. Homophobic hysteria can [only be stopped by] the LGBT community, with the support of all other workers and Related layers.”

“I mistrust the point when any of our movements start indulging macho anger as a driving force, a motive influence. I mistrust the moment any of them start using manhood as a criterion for membership, as though questioning the received, repressive value of manhood weren’t (despite all Jamie’s sanctimonious lies) the point of lesbian, and gay, and bisexual, and trans* activism at its best, from the start.”


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