The Advocate July/Aug 2022
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Russia to Consider Restricting Gay Love Scenes, 'As With Pornography'

Gay movie ban

Russia’s Parliament will consider restrictions on films and TV shows with same-sex love scenes, making them viewable only by “special access … as with pornography,” a lawmaker said this week.

Legislation to this effect is being drafted now, Vitaly Milanov, a member of Parliament, said Monday, according to RT, a Russian state news site. He made the remarks directly to RIA Novosti, the state-controlled news agency.

Milanov, deputy chairman of the Committee on Family Affairs, Women, and Children, said Russian citizens don’t want such content to be broadcast widely. “The legal solution to this situation is just around the corner,” he said, adding, “Whoever wants can have special access to such videos as well as with pornography.”

In a recent survey by Russia’s Public Opinion Research Center, that 80 percent of respondents said same-sex relations should not be depicted even in films and TV programs restricted to adult viewers, and 57 percent said scenes of “sexual deviance” should be banned, RT reports.

Russia already has its infamous “gay propaganda” law, enacted in 2013, which bans LGBTQ+ content in any venue accessible to minors. It has had the effect of banning Pride parades and other gatherings as well as various types of media. Milanov, as a city official in St. Petersburg, was an advocate for the local law on which the national one is based.

He has made many anti-LGBTQ+ remarks. In August, he said gay people represent the “lowest stage of development of the animal world” and should be “sterilized” as stray cats are. Russia’s Human Rights Council condemned the comments.

Another Russian official recently said he has prepared a catalog of what he called “toxic content” on the internet. “The resource would flag topics such as radical feminism, ‘childfree’ lifestyles, as well as the promotion of homosexuality and bestiality,” RT reports. The site identified the official as a member of Russia’s Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights but did not name him.

Earlier this month, Russian authorities temporarily blocked the website hosting the St. Petersburg-based Side by Side LGBT Film Festival, being held online only due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. The site briefly went back up only to be blocked again.

“This is a politically motivated attack and again an attempt to curb the rights of LGBTQ+ persons located in Russia,” Manny de Guerre, founder of Side by Side LGBT Film Festival, said in an email statement provided to The Advocate.

The Russian government also fined a TV channel for showing an awards ceremony that included the appearance of a man in a dress.

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