An artist in Russia faces up to six years in prison for running a social media site featuring pro-LGBTQ messages and spotlighting feminist artwork.
Yulia Tsvetkova runs two social media groups that the government now says violate the “gay propaganda” law put in place in 2013, according to Radio Free Europe. She’s already been fined about 50,000 Rubles (about $800 U.S. dollars) for her activities and been put under a two-month house arrest.
“This sets a serious precedent for everyone involved in LGBT activism in any way,” she told Radio Free Europe in Russian, “particularly if one is lucky enough, or unlucky enough, to have any connection with children.”
Her activism has included producing a student play asserting children don’t have to live by strict gender norms. The show, for example, said boys should feel free to cry. Parents of students involved in the play said they saw nothing controversial about the content.
Tsvetkova also shared feminist artwork, including pieces that vaguely represent parts of the female anatomy. One picture looked like a uterus depicted in 8-bit pixels. Another simply showed a woman’s hands in the shape of a vagina. None of the artwork explicitly showed sexual organs.
But Russian authorities say Tsvetkova was sharing propaganda promoting nontraditional sexual relations among minors.
Tsvetkova isn’t the only artist facing legal persecution for her work promoting tolerance or empowerment among young people in Russia. Police investigated producers of the Russian YouTube series Real Talk after they posted an interview with an openly gay man talking with children.
Beyond legal repercussions, pro-LGBTQ activists have faced threats from violent factions of society as well. Yelena Grigoryeva was murdered after her information was posted on a website encouraging the hunting of LGBTQ people, but authorities concluded she died in a domestic dispute.