Anti-LGBTQ sentiment is hitting a fever pitch in Russia as President Vladimir Putin is now calling a rainbow ice cream gay “propaganda.”
In a video conference with Putin, the leader of Russia’s Union of Women Yekaterina Lakhova complained about a brand of rainbow ice cream produced by Chistaya Liniya.
“They’re quietly promoting these nice rainbow colors, using nice words, they’re advertising an ice cream called Rainbow,” she said, saying that the rainbow is an attack on Russia’s “traditional values.”
“Even indirectly, such things make our children accustomed to that flag.”
“I don’t like the rainbow, just as I don’t like the swastika,” she said.
While homosexuality is legal in Russia, the country banned “propaganda” for “non-traditional sexual relationships,” a law that has been used to quash Pride events, LGBTQ activists, and even LGBTQ teens speaking on social media.
At the conference, Putin said, “If there are reasons to believe that something is propaganda for values that are not traditional to us, then… it must be managed by society, but not aggressively.”
Last week, Russia voted on a slate of constitutional amendments, including one to ban marriage equality in the country, which does not currently recognize marriage equality.
Armen Beniaminov, vice president of Chistaya Liniya, took issue with Lakhova’s accusation that his company’s ice cream is pro-LGBTQ, saying that he voted against marriage equality and his company “advocates traditional family relations.”
“We believe that the rainbow is sunlight after the rain, not the LGBT flag,” he told RIA Novosti.
It might seem strange that people are worried that ice cream could turn children gay – especially since it doesn’t even have the correct rainbow flag colors – but anti-LGBTQ attitudes have been ramped up in the campaign for the amendments in Russia.
A TV ad released by an organization in favor of the amendments showed a gay couple adopting a child, and the child looked sad while a woman who worked at the adoption agency spit at the couple.
Last week, Putin called out the U.S. Embassy in Moscow for flying the rainbow flag, saying that it “revealed something about the people who work there.”
The conservative Christian organization Sorok Sorokov filmed people wiping their feet and stomping on a rainbow flag outside the U.S. Embassy.
Участники движения «Сорок мудаков» продолжают свои гомофобные кривляния у посольства США. pic.twitter.com/EzeaOtg54T
— Рустем Адагамов (@adagamov) July 1, 2020