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The Fear of Being Gay in Russia

The Fear of Being Gay in Russia
Nikolai Baev, an LGBT activist, in Moscow a few days after he was detained by police.
Nikolai Baev, an LGBT activist, in Moscow a few days after he was detained by police. Oleg Yakovlev

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Via: POLITICO

Moscow’s first gay pride parade was held in May 2006, thirteen years after homosexuality was decriminalized in Russia. It was supposed to be a joyous occasion, the beginning of a new era of openness for the LGBT community.

It didn’t quite work out that way. LGBT marchers that day clashed with riot police, who tried to stop the event. “We disturbed something very deeply rooted in Russian society, some very evil power of intolerance and violence,” says Nikolai Baev, a prominent LGBT rights activist who attended the march.

Only a few months later, Russia saw its first regional anti-gay law passed in Ryazan, 200 miles east of Moscow. It was the first official sign that the Russian authorities would resist the LGBT movement—a resistance that has grown and become increasingly violent as LGBT activism has grown over the last decade.

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