The lower house of the Russian Parliament voted last week to expand the country’s ban on “gay propaganda’ or any promotion of LGBTQ+ people. The law which previously applied to “gay propaganda” that targeted minors, will now be expanded to cover all “gay propaganda.”
Any positive mention of “non-traditional sexual relations” or relationships in the media will be considered as serious of an infraction as distributing pornography, promoting violence or inciting racial tensions. Violating the law will lead to costly fines, regular people will have to pay up to $9,600 per infraction while companies can be forced to pay up to $120,000.
The previous version of the law was introduced in 2013 and prohibited “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations” that targeted minors. While the language of the legislation made it appear as if it was intended to protect minors from lewd content, it was ultimately used to outlaw anything that exposed them to LGBTQ+ people in a positive or educational manner. Pride celebrations, creating media content featuring LGBTQ+ people, and teaching inclusive sex education became punishable crimes.
LGBTQ+ rights activists are extremely critical of the updated version of the law, especially since it fails to define “gay propaganda.” It is unclear how the legislation will affect LGBTQ+ people living in Russia.