Give Russians voice with anti-gay gag video

Make campaign video go viral and stop St Petersburg's anti-gay 'propaganda' law

Give Russians voice with anti-gay gag video
01 March 2012

Activists hope a video featuring gay men and women with their mouths gagged or taped will go viral in a final push to stop St Petersburg's anti-gay 'propaganda' law.

Politicians in the Russian city yesterday (29 February) voted in favor of the 'gag gay' bill which makes people criminals if they discuss homosexuality in public.

Campaigners have warned that if it does become law, it could silence moves towards lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights in the region and prevent gay cultural and social events.

The governor of St Petersburg, Georgiy Poltavchenko, now has 14 days to sign the bill into law, or send it back to the Duma.

Rights group All Out gathered more than 300,000 signatures for a petition targeting St Petersburg's tourist market and made an emotive campaign video during yesterday's mass pro-gay protests outside Russian embassies in Berlin, Buenos Aires, Milan, Antwerp, Lisbon, Paris and Rio de Janeiro.

Russia: Don't Go There. We Will Not Be Silenced features a gagged protester holding a flip-pad, warning viewers of the potentially dire consequences of passing the St Petersburg law.

The two minute clip is fittingly accompanied by music from Russia's most famous gay composer Tchaikovsky and All Out are urging the LGBT community around the world to raise awareness by sharing the video.

In a statement, All Out said: 'We cannot stand by while our friends in Russia are pushed underground or their speech is criminalized.

'If the governor signs the bill into law, simply writing a book with a gay character, mentioning LGBT rights on air, or even holding hands with your partner could be considered illegal "propaganda" in Russia's second largest city.

'The conservative lawmakers who advanced the bill think St. Petersburg's governor will ratify it despite an international uproar.

'But Governor Poltavchenko can't ignore the fact that Saint Petersburg is Russia's number one tourist destination – or that tens of thousands have already publicly pledged not to travel there as tourists if this backward law is signed.

'If we can get more people to watch this video – hundreds of thousands – then the Governor and his advisors will soon realize they have a PR disaster on their hands.'

Currently, the bill has fines of up to 1 million roubles ($34,400 €25,000) for organisations and up to 5,000 roubles (€172 €125) for individuals.

Ten days after the governor signs the bill and it is published in the official ‘journal’, the law comes into effect.

There has been widespread international opposition to the proposed legislation with pressure coming from the US State Department and a European Parliament resolution condemning the plan.

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