Glasgow mayor rejects call to boycott Russian twin city over gay rights

Glasgow mayor rejects call to boycott Russian twin city over gay rights

GLASGOW, Scotland – The mayor of Scotland’s largest city, Lord Provost Sadie Docherty, said Glasgow would not sever ties with its twin city in Russia over that country’s anti-gay laws.

The response came after hundreds of Glasgow’s LGBT community signed a petition demanding that the mayor cut ties with its Russian sister city Rostov-on-Don, due to the country’s recent law banning so-called “homosexual propaganda.”

Drag artist Nathan Sparling, who performs as “Nancy Clench,” protests outside the Russian Consulate in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Russia’s anti-gay law has come under strong worldwide critique for violating basic freedoms and various international treaties on human rights.

In an email to LGBTQ Nation, the mayor insisted that it would be incorrect for Glasgow to break off relations with its Russian twin city.

The mayor also confirmed that she will be on an official visit to Russia this coming September.

“Our cities have been twinned for 27 years. That includes a period of the Cold War,” Docherty said. “The way to influence policy is to remain within our partnership.”

“It is not practical for cities, countries or states to dissolve long-standing and beneficial relationships because one party does not agree with another’s stance on a particular issue,” she said.

“It is not a grown up position to simply opt out of these arrangements,” added Docherty, who said “exerting influence from within” is the way forward.

Nathan Sparling, a drag artist who performs as “Nancy Clench” and who authored the petition, told LGBTQ Nation he was “extremely disappointed in the mayor’s condescending statement, and her confirmation she would be making a trip to Rostov-on-Don in September.”

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“Ending the twinning agreement must remain an option for the people of Glasgow, but at a first stage the postponement of the trip is vital,” said Sparling. “What message is Glasgow showing LGBT people in this country and in Russia?”

Sparling and members of Equality Network, a Scottish LGBT advocacy group, took part in a demonstration Friday outside the Consulate of the Russian Federation in Edinburgh, capital of Scotland, protesting against the Russian law and to show LGBT Russians that they are not alone and have international support.

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