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US gays join Russian campaign against propaganda law

Gay rights advocates in San Francisco, California, are the latest LGBT Americans and allies to protest Russia's gay gag law with a photo campaign
Mike Petrelis, his partner Mike Merrigan and their friend are the latest Americans to join the Russian anti-homophobia photo campaign.

American allies are joining forces the Russian LGBT community in a new photo campaign to protest Russia's anti-gay propaganda bill.

Mike Petrelis, San Francisco-based blogger and gay rights advocate (pictured), has joined other Americans in the 'I am Not Propaganda' campaign started by Coming Out, an LGBT organization based in St. Petersburg, and OutLoudMag.ru

A Russian policeman, a Christian straight man and a teacher are some of the hundreds of individuals who've contributed photos of themselves holding signs that read: 'I am ______ and I oppose homophobia'. 

The photo campaign comes as Russia's State Duma voted in favor of the new law on Friday (25 January), which forbids 'homosexual propaganda' to minors which it links to pedophilia.

On Thursday (25 January) the Kaliningrad region, with a population of almost a million, became the 10th Russian region to pass a law. The Kaliningrad governor just needs to sign the bill in order for it to become law.

According to the Coming Out website, the campaign challenges the moral grounds of the anti-gay propaganda bill.

The website reads: 'Champions of morality and the "children's rights advocates" in Russia have consistently indicated that Russian society is traditionally against homosexuals. Authors of the campaign ask the question: is this true? Does the Russian society really believe gays and lesbians should be persecuted?'

To view the photos that have been submitted so far, visit OutLoudMag.ru.

To contribute your own photo to the online campaign, take a picture of yourself holding a sign that reads 'Я человек а не пропаганд', which translates to 'I am a human being and not propaganda'. Submit your photo to yanepropagnda@gmail.com.  

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