Being 'Out' in Saint Petersburg Could Soon be Illegal for Gays
Worrying sounds are coming from Russia in the last few days as lawmakers with the countries ruling United Russia party now back a new and somewhat controversial bill which will impose fines for instances of gay "propaganda" by young people in the city of Saint Petersburg.
This bill is rather ambiguous and seems aimed at keeping gay people off the streets, anyone who committed "public acts" promoting homosexuality, bisexuality or transgender identity to minors could pay up to 3,000 rubles ($97.50), while an organisation could pay 10,000 to 50,000 rubles, according to the bill. However, the bill gives no definition of what a public act is, which leads many commentators and equality activists believing it is an attempt to crack down and permanently ban gay pride events.
If the bill passes it "will spoil the reputation not only of Russia but of Saint Petersburg as a European city," according to Igor Kochetkov of the city's LGBT Network rights group.
This hideous bill proposed by the United Russia party passed its first reading this Wednesday by the city's parliament. To be made into law, the bill would need to be passed in two further readings. At this stage it looks very likely to achieve success in those readings as the United Russia party holds 23 of the 50 seats in the parliament.
Interestingly this bill also imposes the same fines for promoting paedophilia, which is also causing anger and frustration amount the local gay community, who have held pickets and petitioned against the bill.
Russia continues to be an incredibly homophobic country, most gay pride events are either banned outright or mobbed and attacked. In Moscow the mayor banned this years gay pride parade calling it 'satanic' gay and lesbian people face verbal abuse on a daily basis, which is perhaps why no mainstream or well known personalities have come out as gay or lesbian or even been vocal in support of gay rights or equality.