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Founder Of Russian LGBT Teen Support Group Fined For Violating 'Gay Propaganda' Law

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The founder of Russia's version of the "It Gets Better" campaign has been fined 50,000 rubles for violating the country's "gay propaganda" law.

Journalist Elena Klimova (above), founder of the Children 440 group on the Russian social network VKontakte, was fined the equivalent of $775, BuzzFeed reports

Klimova launched the group shortly before Russia passed its anti-gay law in 2013. The name Children 404 is a reference to the “Page Not Found” online server error.

Most users who post photos on the site obscure their faces and include the message, "We exist." They also share stories and can interact with volunteer psychologists who offer counseling.

BuzzFeed reports on Thursday's hearing: 

LGBT activists said that Klimova’s lawyer could not attend today’s hearing for medical reasons and she was left without counsel when the judge declined to postpone the proceedings.

“Today the court has violated the article 48 of the Russian Constitution, according to which everyone shall be guaranteed the right to qualified legal assistance,” Maria Kozlovskaya, a lawyer with the Russian LGBT Network, said in a statement. “We are going to challenge this decision at all levels including the European Court on Human Rights.”

View photos from Children 404's Facebook page and watch a trailer for the film about the campaign, AFTER THE JUMP ... 

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Robbie Rogers Slams FIFA's Decision to Host World Cup in Anti-gay Countries: 'Our Lives Don't Matter'

Rogers

In a column for USA TODAY Sports this week, LA Galaxy player Robbie Rogers doubled down on his criticism of FIFA and its decision to hold the 2018 and 2022 World Cups in Russia and Qatar respectively. Both countries have extremely poor records on LGBT rights, with homosexuality remaining illegal in Qatar and Russia's anti-gay propaganda ban silencing free speech on LGBT issues. 

Wrote Rogers:

FIFA is great at lofty rhetoric. They say their goal is improving the game of soccer "constantly and promot(ing) it globally in the light of its unifying, educational, cultural and humanitarian values, particularly through youth and development programs."

Those are wonderful ideals and its how I think of my sport and my place in it as a role model to young athletes. But FIFA doesn't live those words, not when they decide to hold the next two World Cups, the most widely watched sporting events in the world, in Russia in 2018 and Qatar in 2022, two countries that fall far short when it comes to humanitarian values, not to mention their seriously anti-LGBT values and crushing anti-gay laws.

If actions speak louder than words, then the message FIFA sends to gay athletes is painfully clear. Not only don't they have our backs, our lives don't matter. So for any gay soccer player who has hopes of playing for the U.S. National Team at the World Cup, being open about their sexuality could have real consequences when they set foot in countries with laws that could land them in jail.

Read the full column here

Last month, Rogers called FIFA's decision to host the World Cup in anti-gay countries "insane".


Kyrgyzstan Urged To Drop New Anti-Gay 'Propaganda' Law: VIDEO

  Kyrgyzstan gay rights

In a resolution adopted yesterday, the European Parliament (EP) has called on Kyrgyzstan to reject new legislation banning “gay propaganda.”

The legislation - which closely resembles anti-gay laws in Russia - was introduced in March of last year and overwhelmingly passed a first reading in October.

According to the EP’s Intergroup on LGBT Rights, the draft law would ban the dissemination of information “aimed at forming positive attitudes toward non-traditional sexual relations,” with those found guilty facing up to one year in prison.

6a00d8341c730253ef01b7c6f55abf970b-250wiAlthough the EP acknowledged democratic progress in Kyrgyzstan, it has called on the country’s parliament to reject the bill and has urged politicians from engaging in anti-gay hate speech.

Additionally, the EP has supported recommendations that the country should combat all forms of discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The Co-President of the LGBTI Intergroup and co-author of the resolution, Ulrike Lunacek MEP said:

“If this bill is passed, anyone who speaks positively about LGBTI issues can be imprisoned. This is an attack on the freedom of expression, the freedom of assembly and the right to non-discrimination for the Kyrgyz people, in particular LGBTI people.

“If the Kyrgyz parliament is serious about its constitution which protects human and civil rights, it should reject this bill.”

The legislation now requires an additional two readings and presidential approval before becoming law.

Watch a report on LGBTI rights in Kyrgyzstan, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Russian Government Revises Law That Would Have Banned Transpeople From Obtaining Driver's Licenses

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Soon after the Russian government introduced a broad “road safety decree,” Russian LGBT rights activists quickly highlighted the new law’s potential to rob transgender people of their ability to obtain a driver's license. The original decree lumped gender dysphoria in with a number of actual mental disorders that could potentially render a person unable to operate a car. Following widespread outcry, however, the government has revised the law and should allow transpeople their right to drive.

"Decisions on driving bans are made by a psychiatric commission," said Kseniya Kirichenko, a board member of the Russian LGBT Network. "I find it hard to believe that, even in Russia, any psychiatrist could come to the conclusion that transgender people are not fit to drive. Of course it won't happen."

Though the decree may seem laughable from afar, many suspect that the law is actually an early attempt by the Russian government to implement a more subtle sort of anti-LGBT legislation. While laws like Vladimir Putin’s anti-gay propaganda law are large and flashy enough to instantly draw global attention, these seemingly smaller laws present new problems of their own.

"It actually shows that LGBT people in Russia feel extremely vulnerable," Svetlana Zakharova, a manager for the Russian LGBT Network, told Reuters. ”The homophobic policy of the Russian state created an environment where LGBT people do not expect anything good and believe that even a nonsense regulation or law can be adopted."


Russian Government Bans Transgender People From Obtaining Driver's Licenses

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The Russian government continues its steady persecution of LGBT citizens as Russian transgender people no longer qualify for driver’s licenses in the country under a new set of revisions to medical controls for drivers, reports BBC News.

The Russian government says the new rules are to help cut down on the number of car accidents. Although most of the provisions refer to physical impairments, such as blindness, “gender identity disorders” including transsexualism and dual-role transvestism are referenced in the revised provisions. Sadomasochism and exhibitionism are included as well according to BuzzFeed’s J. Lester Feder and Susie Armitage.

Human rights activists and organizations, including the Association of Russian Lawyers for Human Rights, are justly outraged, calling the new law “discriminatory.” The Association of Russian Lawyers is demanding clarifications from the Russian Constitutional Court and seeking support from international human rights organizations in the process. Shawn Gaylord of Human Rights First calls the banning of people driving based on gender identity ridiculous.

Said Gaylord:

"Beyond the denial of basic freedoms, this provision may deter transgender people from seeking mental health services for fear of receiving a diagnosis that would strip them of their right to drive, and leaves the door open for increased harassment, persecution, and discrimination of transgender people by Russian authorities.

"We urge the United States to immediately condemn this provision and to press the Russian government to repeal this decision."

Russian psychiatric experts Mikhail Strakhov and Valery Evtushenko of the Russian Psychiatric Association also condemned the regulations. However, the Professional Drivers Union supported the move, including union head Alexander Kotov. "We have too many deaths on the road, and I believe toughening medical requirements for applicants is fully justified,” said Kotov.

The driving regulations is just one more contribution to creating a hostile, oppressive environment for LGBT Russians and it’s clearly working. Since Russia passed it’s anti-gay “propaganda,” law in June 2013, hate crimes against LGBT people in Russia have dramatically increased. 


Kyrgyzstan MP Calls For Public Extermination Of All Homosexuals: VIDEO

Narynbek Maldobaev

Kyrgyzstan, a small central Asian nation just east of Uzbekistan and north of Afghanistan, is a relatively newly independent nation, just 25 years out of being a part of the Soviet republic. With this new independence, there are two primary forces fighting for control, neither of which is desirable, and both of which are extremely anti-gay: Russian President Vladimir Putin and radical Islam.

A 26-minute film by Vocativ covers a broad swath of the issues facing the nation, including the nation's attitude towards gays and lesbians. There is resistance to the "Western idea" of accepting people for who they are, and MP Narynbek Maldobaev went so far as to call for an extermination, saying:

If it were up to me, I would round them up, the despicable criminals. I'd bring them to a public square and there I would publicly punish them.

When the interviewer asked for clarification on whether "punish" meant execute, Madobaev responded in the affirmative, saying that it would be, "In order to cleanse society." Rather than attempt genocide, the Kyrgyzstan government will be voting on a Russia-like anti gay propaganda bill and it looks like it's enactment will be just as oppressive and even more brutal.

You can watch the documentary, and fast-forward to 1:30 for the statements by Madobaev, AFTER THE JUMP...

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