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Russian Man Denied Job for Looking 'Gay' Awarded Money in Legal Case

Gay propaganda law

LLC Hardcore, which denied a man a job based on his appearance, has been forced to compensate him. 

A Russian man was recently awarded 30,000 rubles (about $500) after taking legal action against the fitness supplement company LLC Hardcore, which denied him a job based on what the employer said was his "feminine manner" and his being "too well-groomed." The employer denied Omsk native Eduard Myra a sales assistant position using Russia's gay propaganda law as a shield, and while Myra did not win the original 50,000 rubles (about $830) he asked for, the money he did receive is significant in terms of sending a message that discriminating based on someone's looks is not a given, even in Russia.

''Our customers are tough guys. If they see [that he is gay] they could be hostile towards him. I wasn't only concerned about the image of the store, I was concerned about this man's health," Hardcore store director Andrey Chistyakov said as his excuse for discriminating, according to the BBC.

When Myra failed to land the position at the company and asked for feedback on what he could have done differently, he was sent a letter with notes that said his pristine grooming and "feminine manner" were indicative of "non-traditional sexual relations."

The letter from human resources, which was posted on the website Omskinform, according to the BBC summed up its decision not to offer Myra a job by saying that his "feminine manner of speaking and gestures, as well as appearance (too well-groomed and flamboyant clothes) create an impression that you are a sexual minority person who, by his behaviour and appearance, is propagating non-traditional sexual relations.''

But Myra was dumbfounded by the assertion that any conclusions could be drawn from his manner of dress. ''I don't know how I can be propagating anything. My clothes are reserved. The only thing that could probably confuse somebody is that my ear is pierced," he said of the remarks about him.

Myra's interview for the job consisted of questions regarding his appearance and not his experience, even going so far as to ask him if he'd had conflicts at his previous jobs, according to the Russian LGBT Network,

Russia's gay propaganda law ostensibly bans the promotion of "homosexual propaganda" to minors but has been used as a tool to oppress LGBT people across the board there. However, the Pervomaisky District Court in Omsk's decision to force LLC Hardcore to compensate Myra to the tune of 30,000 rubles is a meaningful win.

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Tracy E. Gilchrist