In Belarus, a support center for LGBTQ people appeared. In Russia, a murderer of a gay journalist was sentenced to 8,5 years in prison. In Ukraine, the Council of Churches conducted a march to support “traditional family values”. LGBTQ news, June 2017 #1.
In Minsk, a support center for LGBTQ+ people and their relatives — Community Center (CC) was opened. CC team provides psychological support and legal assistance, as well as implements various projects in the field of art and education. A mutual aid and therapeutic groups operate within the CC. The center conduct consulting and trainings for the members of LGBTQ+ and their relatives.
In Minsk, a lecture “LGBT+ Invisibility in the Urban Space: Experiences and Attempts to Overcome” will be held on June 10. A lecturer, an anthropologist and queer activist Nadia Chushak, will talk about the problem of the (in)visibility of LGBT+ in the post socialist urban environment, based on empirical research in Ukraine and Serbia. The lecture is scheduled within the project “A Ban is Impossible. ECLAB Interactive Project”.
In St. Petersburg, the murderer of the gay journalist Dmitry Tsilikin was sentenced to 8.5 years in a strict-regime prison. 21-year-old student Sergei Kosyrev tried to blackmail Tsilikin on the ground of his homosexuality. When the journalist refused to pay, Kosyrev stabbed him with a knife approximately thirty times. Dmitry Tsilikin died from the blood loss in March 2016.
The Russian Psychotherapeutic Association (RPA) stood up for a gay teenager, whose homosexuality was disclosed on public by the psychologists of confidential hot line. The statement of the RPA says that same-sex love is not a disease, and therefore any attempt to treat it is “absolutely unethical”. The RPA recalls that all people have equal access to medical care, and encourages the professional community to strictly follow the ethical principles in their work.
In Paris, Russian President Vladimir Putin and French President Emmanuel Macron discussed the issue of LGBT citizens’ human rights in Russia. Putin notified Macron that he had made several attempts to found out the truth about the gay people of Chechnya.
On the same day, the first gay refugee from Chechnya has arrived to France. As stated by SOS Homophobie association, some more homosexuals from the North Caucasus are expected in France.
The head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, invited the president of France and the Chancellor of Germany to visit the republic in order to see at first hand the absence of facts of the gays’ persecution. Moreover, Kadyrov announced his 24 hours a day access for foreign media, including gay journalists, but expressed concerns about the methods of their work.
“How are they going to check it this information? Will come and ask everyone? This topic is offensive to the Chechen people, because men’s honour and morality for Muslims and Chechens are far above their own lives,” — Kadyrov said.
The idea to organize a trip to the republic for the journalists belongs to the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova. During the last briefing, the Finnish journalist Erkka Mikkonen asked her to comment the situation around gays in Chechnya. Zakharova recommended to stop “politicizing” the problem and “gossiping”, and offered assistance in arranging Mikkonen’s travelling to the region, thus giving him opportunity to find all the answers by himself.
Amnesty International initiated the Global Day of Action in Support of the LGBT Community of Chechnya. On the Day of Action, held on June 2, the participants came to the Russian embassies around the world to pass the signatures under the petition demanding to begin an immediate investigation of reports of crimes against homosexuals in Chechnya. In London, Sir Ian McKellen joined the rally along with other public and political figures.
The clergy of Russian Orthodox church came up with homophobic rhetoric once again. Metropolitan of Volokolamsk Hilarion called the legalization of same-sex marriages “a deep moral disease.” Two days earlier, Patriarch Kirill, speaking at Bishkek University, compared the laws on gay marriages to Nazi ones.
The Russian deputy Vitaly Milonov introduced a new bill for the State Duma consideration. He offered to equate sex toys with medicines. According to the politician, Russian citizens should use intimate goods exclusively “for medical reasons to correct sexual deviations in their behavior.”
In Kiev, the Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations held a march to support “traditional family values.” The participants, about a thousand people, spoke out against abortion and the problem of orphanhood, in defense of “family and marriage as a union of a man and a woman that corresponds to God’s will and human nature.”