Russian gay teen sprung from rehab after activist ‘siege’

Family tried to exorcize gay teenager in Moscow after he came out to them on his 16th birthday

Russian gay teen sprung from rehab after activist ‘siege’
25 April 2012

A gay teenager in Russia who was put into a drug rehab center after coming out to his father has been released following a 'seige' by activists.

Ivan Kharchenko spent 12 days in Moscow's Marshak facility for alleged drug abuse and alcoholism, but was last night sprung from the clinic by campaigners including activist Dmitry Aleshkovsky, who tweeted that his supporters staged an improvised seige.

According to Novaya Gazeta, Ivan's family were devastated after he came out to them earlier this year on his 16th birthday.

So much so that his grandmother sent him to a 'witch' to be exorcized.

His father then admitted Ivan to the rehabilitation center, allegedly against his will, where he was drugged so much he forgot his friends' names, Novaya Gazeta reported.

Campaigners have condemned his father's actions, accusing him of kidnapping.

An investigation will be launched into Ivan's hospitalization after lawyer Violetta Volkova told Ekho Moskvy radio that medics failed to confirm the allegations of drug and alcohol abuse.

LGBT rights have become a hot topic in Russia, after last month saw a national anti-gay bill, similar to the one passed in St Petersburg, submitted to the Russian parliament by lawmakers from the Novosibirsk region.

The proposed law calls for fines of up to 500,000 rubles ($16,500 €12,400) for 'spreading homosexual propaganda' among minors.

If passed, it would gag gay and transgender people nationwide, potentially banning public discussion of LGBT issues or events targeted at gay and trans people.

The St Petersburg bill, passed in February 2012, makes it an offense to engage in any 'propaganda' that could give minors 'the false perception that traditional and nontraditional relationships are socially equal.'

The Russian states of Arkhangelsk, Ryazan and Kostroma have already adopted similar anti-gay laws.

However, despite a poll by the All-Russian Center for the Study of Public Opinion (VTsIOM), showing 86% of the country's population support laws prohibiting public discussion of LGBT issues, only 6% of Russians have actually seen so-called 'propaganda'.

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

Robbie Rogers reveals in memoir he was 25 when he kissed a man for first time

'It makes me sad to think I'd waited so long to experience something that should have been a natural part of my adolescence'
No thumbnail available

Go West: Pet Shop Boys, adventure and seafood

Synth-pop icons are playing at Way Out West music festival in Gothenburg this August
No thumbnail available

Woman given life sentence for stabbing lesbian lover as she slept

Chooi Cheung attacked her lover and former employee with a knife, suspecting she was leaving the country with money she had lent her
No thumbnail available

South Africa shuts down pro-gay mosque

The Open Mosque broke a law by not having parking spaces
No thumbnail available

Two dads holding their baby for the first time will melt your heart

Overcome by their new baby born on at the weekend, the couple says the pictures represent what 'Pride' is all about
No thumbnail available

Lebanon: activists protest against arrest and abuse of gays

Lebanese human rights advocates protest demanding Dekwaneh’s mayor be brought to justice for illegal arrest of gay club goers who were stripped naked and photographed, physically and verbally abused
No thumbnail available

Freddie Smith hopes gay bullying storyline raises awareness

Freddie Smith hopes gay bullying storyline raises awareness
No thumbnail available

Gay swimmers do it with Different Strokes

GSN meets the team from Wellington’s LGBT aquatics club in New Zealand
No thumbnail available

Australia: Acting opposition leader will push to make Labor MPs vote for gay marriage

'It is a clear question. Do we support legal discrimination against one group in this country? Or do we not?'
No thumbnail available

Australian PM and opposition leader rule-out gay marriage vote

Political leaders say no to a referendum on gay marriage in Australia, religious groups against marriage equality support a vote on the issue