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Gay Russian teen imprisoned in drug rehab for coming out is released

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

MOSCOW — A Russian teen has been released from the Marshak drug rehabilitation facility after spending 12 days in the institution after being forcibly admitted by his traditionalist father, who was angered when he came out as openly gay earlier this month.

Marshak Clinic

Ivan Kharchenko, 16, was released after friends and supporters staged an improvised siege of the facility, and was placed him in the custody of his mother, who said she was not opposed to her son being gay.

LGBT activist Dmitry Aleshkovsk said that the State Duma deputy from the Just Russia party, Ilya Ponomaryov, along with Violetta Volkova, a human rights lawyer, took on the young teen’s case and participated in successfully having him released from the facility.

Both insisted that Kharchenko’s placement in the rehab without his consent amounted to kidnapping.

Russian journalist Alex Eremenko said that Kharchenko publicly admitted his homosexuality at his 16th birthday earlier this month. His announcement did not disturb his classmates and peers, but angered his relatives including his grandmother who tricked her grandson into going to a “witch” who unsuccessfully attempted to exorcize the “spirit of homosexuality” from him.

After the failure to exorcise the youth’s “homosexuality,” his father took Kharchenko to the drug clinic and left him there allegedly against his will.

“I’d rather have you disabled or a vegetable than gay,” the boy’s father was cited as saying to a local radio station.

According to the activists who managed to free the teen, Kharchenko had placed a banner in his window at the facility addressed to his boyfriend that declared his love, but that was promptly removed by clinic staffers.

Kharchenko was released on late Tuesday and spent the night at his mother’s after his grandmother refused to take him back.

A spokesman for the Moscow Militia, [Police] said that law enforcement officials would be investigating the claims of false imprisonment and kidnapping.

LGBTQ rights is a controversial topic in the Russian Federation largely due to recent laws were passed by lawmakers in three regions including Russia’s second largest city, St. Petersburg, that bans discussion of homosexuality to minors.

That vaguely-worded piece of legislation was denounced as homophobic propaganda by LGBT activists in Russia and beyond, but a bill proposing to spread the ban nationwide was later introduced into the Russian national parliament known as the State Duma and is pending review.

Ninety-four percent of Russians said they have never encountered gay propaganda, but 86 percent still support a ban on it, according to a poll by state-run television earlier this month.

During a recent broadcast discussing LGBTQ rights, approximately 60 percent of some 750 callers at Radio Ekho Moskvy said their offspring being gay would be a “tragedy” for them.

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Filed under: Europe

13 more reader comments:

  1. At least there were some people who support and are indifferent to his sexuality.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 25, 2012 at 8:16pm
  2. This is what will start happening in this country if Republican jerkoffs win the Senate and the White House this year. DON’T let it happen! Get your ass out and vote Democrat and tell all your friends to do the same. For real.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 25, 2012 at 8:17pm
  3. do not vote party lines.. vote candidates who support your views and lifestyles

    Posted on Wednesday, April 25, 2012 at 8:19pm
  4. This is the way oppressive governments always dealt with things that annoyed them or that they didn’t understand.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 25, 2012 at 8:23pm
  5. sad shame the world we live in that has to always worry and nose into another’s life…………and for the most part those that do have demon’s of their own and are bored or whatever else make’s them feel the need to do the thing’s they do””””’ each to their own ask no one to b like me or me like you for i am my own person

    Posted on Wednesday, April 25, 2012 at 8:26pm
  6. amen sista

    Posted on Wednesday, April 25, 2012 at 8:28pm
  7. This is so sad that other countries are not tolerant of gays :’( its just love isnt it? Geez i feel so bad for the teen!!!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, April 25, 2012 at 8:28pm
  8. Russians hate gays, that hate them with a passion. If you’re going to be gay, come to America or Western Europe, this kind of thing won’t happen in those places

    Posted on Wednesday, April 25, 2012 at 8:45pm
  9. In Soviet Russia, system works you.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 25, 2012 at 8:55pm
  10. Gay & Proud If I head the money I would open A Safe House!! My Dad Kicked me out when I told him I was Gay. Some People Like boy & girls some girls & girls & some boys & boys!!! Every one finds love how who cares we just do!!!! I Feel for the Boy!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, April 25, 2012 at 8:57pm
  11. Gotta feel sorry for people so concerned about what consenting people do behind closed doors. I bet these russians are either secretly gay or havent been laid in so long theyre jelly

    Posted on Wednesday, April 25, 2012 at 9:01pm
  12. That could just as easily happen here!

    Posted on Wednesday, April 25, 2012 at 9:42pm
  13. This is a hideous matter! Russia has come so far to still be so behind. I look forward to see the day the country I love truly prosper in every way. Stand out against the hate. Learn to love.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 25, 2012 at 10:01pm