Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in Russia

Submitted by Russian LGBT Network

Interregional social movement “Russian LGBT-Network” alongside with Moscow Helsinki Group presented report “Discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in Russia”.

This is the first specialized study of legal situation of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders (LGBT-community) in Russia. In this 100-pages report was presented analysis of Russian laws in respect to existence of discriminating laws and existence of guaranteed protection of rights for all citizens, without respect to their sexual orientation and gender identity. In the report were collected and summarized certain cases of infringements of rights and discrimination.

Authors state that sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination, together with native, origin or any other discrimination, is a part of whole xenophobia problem in modern Russia. Authors warn that this problem seriously endangers social security. First, this leads to exclude persons with homo- or bisexual orientation and transgenders from full social life, endangers their lives and security, and humiliates their personal dignity. Second, government and social tolerance to rushes of this discrimination leads to the legalization of neo-Nazi ideology and religious fundamentalism. Moreover, this incites the activity of organizations, that are openly endangers social security and violates the public peace in Russia.

Thus, the document states, that Russian officials took position of ignoring and understatement of the gays and lesbians discrimination problem. “The problem cannot be solved until the State changes its position. In annual ombudsman’s reports there were no signs of sexual orientation or gender identity reports. Yet the according information were presented to him numeraly” – the authors say.

Report is a result of special sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in Russia monitoring, provided in 2007-2008 by the Moscow Helsinki Group and Russian LGBT-Network. In modern Russia, as well as in other states, problems infringement of human rights and discrimination are widely known. Xenophobia, minority intolerance is a part of whole society’s problem, and homophobia is only a part of it. But crimes, right infringements and homophobic discrimination are widely known. The worst is that these problems are target of ignore and understatement from government, mass medias and public opinion leaders. LGBT-community in our country is still “invisible” and “unnamable”.

Famous Russian scientist, sociologist, sexologist, and member of the Russian Academy of Education Igor Kon said “Russian LGBT-activists had never before presented such a solid and convincing document”. “I think, authors did their best and find the right mood – serious and without hysterics”, - he added.

Russian LGBT-Network chairman Igor Petrov have informed that there are results of big legal position of LGBT-community research and practical recommendations for state institutes about security of real human right guarantees in Russia, without respect to sexual orientation and gender identity.

One of the most serious problems, indicated during research, is the preservation of the punitive sanctions of the Soviet times in respect to the homosexuals from the law machinery. Despite the fact that criminal persecution of the free will homosexual relations between adults was cancelled, the process of decriminalization of homosexuality in Russia is de facto not over yet. Police treatment of homosexuals leads to the continuing reproduction of violence and outrage toward gays and lesbians from the police organs. Assertedly carrying their functions, police illegally detents (single persons as well as group detentions) people on base of their real or seeming homosexuality, interferes in their private life, and gathers personal data. Police organs use this information to fright, blackmail or force people to give “right” evidences. The current legal system supports this.

In the nearest future Russian President Dmitri Medvedev, prime-minister Vladimir Putin, every parliament member, Russian ombudsman Vladimir Lukin, every Russian Federation subject’s ombudsmen, different ministries, and international organizations would be sent this report.

The full report can be read here:

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