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Russian police raid gay venues hours after Supreme Court’s “extremist” ruling

Russian police raid gay venues hours after Supreme Court’s “extremist” ruling It's officially open season on any LGBTQ+ supporters in the former Soviet country.

By Daniel Villarreal Monday, December 4, 2023

Russian police began raiding gay bars and clubs Friday night after the nation’s Supreme Court ruled all gay rights supporters are “extremist” organizations. Other queer-inclusive venues in Russia have begun shutting down in response to the raids.

Officers raided a nightclub, a male sauna, and an LGBTQ+-inclusive bar in the capital city of Moscow, checking and photographing patrons’ IDs, the Associated Press reported. Police blamed “drugs” for the raids, a pretext that anti-LGBTQ+ countries often use to persecute queer people and venues.

Putin’s adviser says U.S. is using brainwashing to make gay Ukrainian super-soldiers The Ukraine’s Armed Forces will become “zombified and unified through gay sex, along with cult members ready to sacrifice themselves,” he said. Central Station, a gay club in St. Petersburg, and several other LGBTQ+-affiliated venues have begun closing down amid the recent raids and the court ruling. The ruling now gives Russian authorities license to persecute any entity that supports LGBTQ+ rights.

The ruling is just the latest in Russia’s long ongoing crackdown against LGBTQ+ people, a crackdown that has allowed the semi-autonomous region of Chechnya to conduct a years-long campaign of kidnapping, detainment, torture, and murder of gay men.

In an October 2022 speech, Russian leader Vladimir Putin accused the U.S. and other Western countries of trying to push gender “perversions” on Russian schoolchildren. He has used LGBTQ+ rights as a pretext for his ongoing invasion of Ukraine. He has also scapegoated LGBTQ+ people and their supporters generally for worsening social conditions in his country over his nearly 12-year presidential rule.

Putin first signed a law banning so-called “gay propaganda” in Russia in June 2013. The law ostensibly sought to “protect children” from any “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relationships,” as stated in the law’s text. The new law extends the restrictions to not just children but Russians of all ages.

The law has mostly been used to silence LGBTQ+ activist organizations, events, websites, and media, as well as to break up families, harass teachers, and punish men for consensual sexual encounters. It has also been roundly condemned by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, the human rights groups Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, as well as civil rights activists around the world.

In December 2012, Putin signed a law expanding the country’s prohibition on LGBTQ+ “propaganda.” The signed law effectively outlaws any public expression of LGBTQ+ life in Russia by banning “any action or the spreading of any information that is considered an attempt to promote homosexuality in public, online, or in films, books or advertising,” Reuters reported.

Anti-LGBTQ+ religious leaders and right-wing political figures in the U.S. have praised Putin for his anti-LGBTQ+ actions. In a similar vein, Republican legislators, so-called “parents’ rights groups,” and right-wing pundits have increasingly moved to ban American kids from accessing any LGBTQ+ content, gender-affirming healthcare, or drag shows over untrue claims that these “sexualize” and “groom” children. In 2013, Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM) President Austin Ruse said Russia’s anti-LGBTQ+ laws were a “good thing” that “most of the people in the United States” would support. In 2014, anti-LGBTQ+ evangelical leader Franklin Graham also defended Russia’s anti-queer laws.

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