A company in Russia has sparked outrage after banning gay applicants to its business course.
Outdoor goods retailer Expedition drew angry criticism after it stated on its Russian website that gay people are not allowed to apply for a place on its Academy for Entrepreneurship’.
Activist Nikolai Alexeyev says it’s not the first time they have tried to block LGBT people from working or studying there and called for tougher anti-discrimination laws.
‘It once again highlights the need to have some changes in the legislation which directly contributes to discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity,’ he told Gay Star News.
‘This is what we have been fighting for in the last year and this paves the way for commercial organizations to discriminate against people at work or in their studies.’
The Moscow Pride founder is offering help to anyone who wants to sue the company.
However, he doubts anyone will admit they are gay when applying for Expedition’s program for aspiring business leaders.
‘Once again it is a scandal but it is a scandal without any particular victim yet,’ Alexeyev added.
Some are calling for a boycott of the brand, which has 360 stores worldwide, but Alexeyev says such action would not be in any way effective.
He said: ‘In Russia it would not work because no-one would really care.
‘There is no culture of boycotting any companies or goods because of discrimination and there is no real solidarity in the LGBT movement.
‘People usually put their economic interests higher than any discriminatory policy of a company. It is not yet the time when boycotts can pay off and the company can be forced to change.’
A spokeswoman for Expedition stood by the retailer’s homophobic policy.
‘Real men and real women, in all senses of the word, work in our company and attend our events. These people are very worthy, et cetera. We’re for healthy relationships, new children and new families,’ Veronika Kuzenkova told the Moscow Times.
Russia has seen an increasing crackdown on gay rights recently, with Orthodox Christians calling for a ban on gay clubs in Moscow on Monday (8 October).
In June, gay pride was banned in Moscow for 100 years and in March a national anti-gay bill, similar to the one passed in St Petersburg, was submitted to the Russian parliament by lawmakers from the Novosibirsk region.