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October 3, 2014

Circus Rainbow is aiming to offer family-friendly entertainment to children and adults alike when it makes its debut in Florida later this month

Roll up, roll up… for the US’s first touring LGBTI circus.

Circus Rainbow will launch on 22 October 2014 in St Petersburg, Florida – with shows running twice daily until 2 November. These will include an afternoon performance aimed at kids and families, and an evening dinner show aimed at adults.

The concept was created by show business veteran, Philip Anthony, a Florida- based producer, promoter and entertainment manager whose career in the circus world stretches back over four decades.

September 29, 2014

16 people were hospitalized after being gassed and police tried to force venues to shut the event down but that didn't stop them

Thugs stormed their events and released gas. Police and politicians tried to shut them down. But the LGBTI people of St Petersburg have shown they won't be silenced.

For 10 days, the LGBTI rights organization Coming Out St Petersburg has attempted - and succeeded - in holding an arts festival.

They faced repeat attacks from thugs, leaving 16 people hospitalized on opening night. They also allege the police pressured every single venue to cancel their events in an attempt to ruin the week.

September 25, 2014

Gay rights activists say, even though the law has been upheld by the Constitutional Court, it could be the sign of change

Russia has upheld the gay propaganda law in the Constitutional Court. But gay activists believe the phrasing of the ruling could be key to finding an end to the federal law.

Earlier this morning, one of the highest courts in the country found the law that bans 'propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations' to be constitutional.

Gay rights activsts Nikolai Alekseev, Yaroslav Yevtushenko and Dmitry Isakov filed a complaint after they were found in violation of the law and fined 4,000 rubles ($104, €82).

September 23, 2014

Yulia Volkova said she would 'condemn' a gay son as 'a man has no right to be a fag'

When fake lesbian t.A.T.u singer Yulia Volkova decided to out herself as homophobic, it may not have been the best career move in the world.

Earlier this month, she said she would not 'love a gay son' on Russian TV show Lie Detector.

After saying a 'man has no right to be a fag', the singer received a huge amount of international criticism.

When she took to the stage in St Petersburg on 20 September, it was expected she would apologize for her comments. And she didn't.

September 19, 2014

16 people are in hospital after Vitaly Milonov, as well as some anti-gay thugs, ruined the opening day of a LGBTI event in St Petersburg

Sixteen people have been hospitalized after the opening of an LGBTI arts festival in St Petersburg yesterday (18 September).

Thugs are alleged to have sprayed 'green paint' and to have released gas which forced those who breathed it in to seek medical help.

Vitaly Milonov, the co-author of the 'gay propaganda' ban in the Russian city, stormed the art gallery with other homophobic activists to help shut down the event.

September 12, 2014

Local dance teacher, Ekaterina Khomenko, was found dead in her car - prompting a murder investigation and homophobic comments online

Many in the St Petersburg LGBTI community have been left shocked by the apparent murder of a local lesbian woman.

Ekaterina Khomenko, 29, was found dead in her car by a passing street cleaner early in the morning of 7 September.

Her body was discovered with a 9cm incision to the throat. The car's headlights were on and the engine was still running.

Police initially quizzed family members as to whether Khomenko had displayed any suicidal tendencies. However, the case is now being treated as murder.

September 8, 2014

Some of Gaga’s Little Monsters in Russia performed a tightly choreographed routine in tribute to their heroine

St Petersburg is not one of the more gay friendly places in the world. It was the first city in Russia to introduce anti-gay laws forbidding the promotional of ‘non-traditional’ relationships to minors before similar laws were rolled out nationwide in 2013.

July 27, 2014

An LGBTI pride was held in the Field of Mars park in St Petersburg, despite authorities telling gay groups they should use a dumping ground to celebrate pride

150 people gathered to attend an LGBTI pride event in a public park in Russia, despite being told by Russian authorities they should hold the event at a landfill site.

The event was held yesterday (26 July) at the Field of Mars park in St Petersburg, a public park where federal law decrees such an event was allowed to be held.

The pride rally was organized by gay rights group Ravnopraviye (Equality), even though they were banned from marching, because of Russia’s anti-gay propaganda law.

July 24, 2014

Officials have rejected every location that the organizers of St Petersburg’s LGBTI Pride rally have suggested, instead granting them permission to hold it in the middle of nowhere

Despite the Russian city of St Petersburg repealing its city-wide ban on so-called ‘propaganda of homosexuality to minors,’ officials are still working to frustrate the work of LGBTI activists in the city.

Organizers had hoped to hold an LGBTI Pride rally this Saturday, however by Monday this week city officials had rejected every location for the rally that was suggested to them.

However city officials offered their own alternative locations for the event.

One was a small village between a forest, a cemetery and a rubbish dump.

July 23, 2014

Group says ruling tells wider society that the idea of protecting the rights of LGBT people is something 'foreign', and, therefore unnecessary and even harmful

A Russian LGBT organization has been told by a St Petersburg court it must be registered as a 'foreign agent', a label that implies it is a spy operation.

Coming Out, a group helping LGBTI Russians, was told it was engaging in political activities on behalf of foreign countries.

Judge Naidyonova claimed the group is violating rights of ‘persons with traditional sexual orientation’ by distributing pamphlets that assert being gay is normal.

June 25, 2014

An estimated 125,000 people are expected to descend on St Pete Pride from 27 to 29 June to join the sunset Pride parade, block party and family-friendly street fest

We knew Miami, Key West and Fort Lauderdale have serious LGBTI credentials.

But we were pleasantly surprised to learn Florida’s largest Gay Pride festivities take place in the city of St Petersburg (obviously not to be confused with the Russian city).

Sharing a peninsula on Florida’s western coast with the city of Clearwater, bordered by the Gulf of Mexico to the west and Tampa Bay to the east, the sun-drenched city of St Petersburg packs a lot of pride into just one weekend.

June 18, 2014

Gay rights activists suspect ban was repealed is because lawmakers do not want to be 'humiliated' by the European Court of Human Rights

St Petersburg has repealed the ‘gay propaganda’ law.

Lawmakers in the city’s local assembly decided there was no longer a need for a local law now there is a federal ban.

The second largest city in Russia was one of the first to introduce an anti-gay law in 2012.

Vitaly Milonov, who was the co-sponsor of the original homophobic legislation in St Petersburg, introduced the repeal but this does not mean he is supporting LGBTI people.

He said he will continue to fight against ‘gay propaganda’ and seek to criminalize such acts.

May 17, 2014

Thugs threw stones and eggs in an attempt to stop the rally, but it could not stop rainbow balloons from being released into the sky

Hundreds of Russian gay rights activists braved threats of violence to hold a peaceful protest in the city of St Petersburg today (17 May).

With around 200 armored policemen surrounding the group, there was one officer for nearly every single person participating in the rally.

The people gathered in a square holding placards calling for peace, love, diversity and tolerance.

May 2, 2014

A Russian lawmaker who believes gay groups should be shut down and anti-gay laws enforced accidentally marched alongside a gay rights protest

Hundreds of LGBTI activists joined the largest protest so far against Russia’s anti-gay laws since they were introduced yesterday (1 May).

With a large rainbow banner reading ‘Love Is Stronger Than Hate’, around 300 protestors marched through the streets of St Petersburg fighting for their rights.

Some held rainbow flags, some carried the pink, blue and purple flag representing bisexuality, and others held posters calling for love, not hate.

The march coincided with a May Day rally, with numerous groups and organizations taking part in the event.

April 15, 2014

Co-creator of gay propaganda laws, Vitaly Milonov, says he will help Crimea to rid their region of 'evil' like he did in Russia

A Russia lawmaker has called for the banning of gay clubs and social media pages in order to ‘rid the country of evil’.

Vitaly Milonov, co-sponsor of the gay propaganda bill that was made law, has said bars and dance venues for the LGBTI community are ‘destroying Russia’.

The politician who represents St Petersburg in the Legislative Assembly is currently in Sevastopol, a city in Crimea.

Authorities in the crisis zone peninsula told LGBTIs gay pride parades would be banned on the basis of the Russia ‘gay propaganda’ law.

April 2, 2014

Gay rights activists suggest Russia could wait to enforce stricter laws against the LGBTI community after the country faced fierce international criticism

A Russia lawmaker has called for a ‘moral police’ to be instated to ‘deal’ with gay people.

Vitaly Milonov, co-sponsor of the ‘non-traditional relationships’ bill, has said a new division in the police force would help improve stamping out ‘gay propaganda’.

The moral police squads are being proposed to combat propaganda of homosexuality, as well as stopping prostitution and gambling.

They would also ‘strike down’ those who offend religious believers for whatever reason.

March 11, 2014

Amnesty International have called on the Russian authorities to arrest the masked men responsible for the terror attack in St Petersburg

Russian police are refusing to catch the criminal who blinded a gay man in one eye.

In November, two masked men stormed a ‘rainbow social’ for young LGBTIs and allies and attacked with guns and baseball bats at the offices of LaSky in St Petersburg.

Two young activists, Dmitry Chizhevsky and Anna Prutskova, were hospitalized from the terror attack.

Despite three surgeries, the 27-year-old Chizhevsky will never see again from his left eye.

February 13, 2014

Vitaly Milonov, who says gay people rape kids and are violent towards straights, has said a gay contest must take place behind closed doors

A Russian lawmaker who sponsored the federal gay propaganda law wants Moscow’s ‘Gay Olympics’ banned.

Vitaly Milonov has urged Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin to ban the LGBT Sports Games that is being planned to be held shortly after the Sochi Winter Games.

The lawmaker has become a central figure in the battle on gay rights in Russia after he authored the original ‘gay propaganda’ bill in St Petersburg before it became federal law.

February 9, 2014

Despite arrests, reported beatings and threats of sexual violence against activists who were detained, the IOC says nothing except that Russia was acting in accordance with its laws

Since the start of the Sochi Olympic Games on Friday, some 61 activists – 24 of them for staging pro-gay demonstrations – have been arrested across Russia. Some of those held in Moscow have reported being beaten while in police custody.

February 7, 2014

Four gay rights activists, including one pregnant woman, have reportedly been arrested in St Petersburg

Russia has made the first arrests of the Sochi Olympic Winter Games.

Four gay rights activists, including one pregnant woman, were arrested in St Petersburg today.

LGBTI advocate Anastasia Smirnova led the group holding a banner, according to the Russian LGBT network.

It said: ‘Discrimination is incompatible with the Olympic Movement. Principle 6. Olympic Charter.'

Speaking to Gay Star News, a police spokesman confirmed the arrests and said they would be held until further notice. They could answer no further questions at this time. 

February 5, 2014

Protests will take place in 19 cities around the world including London, New York and St Petersburg

A call is being sent out around the world to protest against Russia’s anti-gay laws today (5 February).

Held two days before the Winter Olympics begins in Sochi, the protestors will call on sponsors to speak out over Russia’s gay propaganda ban.

Protests are expected to take place in 19 cities around the globe, including London, New York, Paris and St Petersburg.

Sponsors of the Olympic Games include Coca Cola, McDonalds and Visa.

December 28, 2013

Maria Maksakova said Russia has suffered extremely negative consequences – artists lose their jobs and sexual minorities are attacked

Renowned Russian opera singer Maria Maksakova has become one of the few people in the ruling United Russia party to publicly oppose the gay propaganda law.

The 36-year-old messo soprano soloist with St Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theater said the law has ‘extremely negative consequences.’

December 26, 2013

Brave activists in St Petersburg have mocked Putin, Patriarch Kirill and other anti-LGBTI leaders with ‘Golden Enema’ disgrace awards

President Vladimir Putin and Russian Orthodox Church leader Patriarch Kirill have been awarded ‘Golden Enema’ prizes for their anti-gay abuses.

Neither were there to pick up the insulting prizes from the Straight Alliance for LGBT Equality at the ceremony in St Petersburg, Russia.

But they, and the other six winners, will be forwarded their Golden Enemas, and their scrolls of dishonor outlining their ‘services to homophobia’, by post.

November 28, 2013

Dustin Lance Black, Gus Van Sant and Milk producer Bruce Cohen are traveling to Russia to host a special screening of their Harvey Milk biopic at St Petersburg’s Bok o Bok Film Festival despite a series of bomb threats against the festival

Oscar winning Milk screenwriter Dustin Lance Black and the film's director Gus Van Sant and producer Bruce Cohen will take part in a special screening of the film and a Q and A session at St Petersburg’s LGBT Bok o Bok (Side by Side) Film Festival on Saturday to close the festival.

The three filmmakers are traveling to St Petersburg for the festival despite a series of bomb threats being made against the festival – though none has proved credible thus far and seem mostly to have been aimed at disrupting screenings.