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Lansing, MI May Cut Ties With St. Petersburg Over Anti-Gay Policies

Lansing Lansing, Michigan is currently listed as the "sister-city" to St. Petersburg, Russia. That may change soon, however, if Russia continues its intolerance of LGBT citizens and foreigners. is reporting that the Lansing City Council discussed ending their relationship with the Russian sister-city late Monday night, and plan to "take up a resolution soon". 

The issue was raised late last week by Councilwoman Jody Washington, who condemned Russia's new anti-gay laws, as well as the arrests of both citizens and foreign tourists that followed. "We need to say we do not tolerate this, we do not accept this." Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero also called the actions "abhorrent", but also maintained that diplomacy must be tried before resorting to such measures. 

According to Beaumont Enterprise...

"The city's relationship with one district of St. Petersburg formally began in 1994 with a youth exchange program but fell dormant after political and geographic districts of St. Petersburg were changed several years ago. The Sister Cities Commission's goal is to promote community understanding and appreciation of other cultures in hopes of creating a more peaceful world. Lansing has five other sister cities around the globe, as well as 'friendship cities' with which it has ties."

The Associated Press has sent a request for comment to Russian embassy in the U.S. Said request currently remains unanswered.

Vladimir Putin Signs Law Banning Promotion Of 'Homosexual Propaganda'

PutinIt's a sad day for our LGBT brothers and sisters in Russia. Today, President Vladimir Putin signed into law the disgusting bill banning the promotion of "homosexual propaganda" among minors. RIA Novosti reports:

Gay propaganda with the use of mass media or Internet resources will see harsher penalties of 50,000-100,000 rubles ($1,520-3,050) for individuals, 100,000-200,000 rubles ($3,050-6,115) for officials and 1 million rubles or 90-day suspension for legal entities.

While the law's proponents argue it is aimed at protecting children from harmful influences, critics allege the move is part of a broader crackdown on Russia's gay community.  

Even before the law's passage, international human rights organizations had publicly expressed their concerns that the antigay bill will be used to target openly LGBT Olympians at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Putin, meanwhile, attempted to downplay accusations of antigay bigotry by claiming sexual minorities are "full fledged members of our society and are not being discriminated against in any way." Putin should tell that to the dozens of gay rights supporters who were arrested at a bloody clash in St. Petersburg yesterday.

Blood Drawn in Major Clash at St. Petersburg, Russia Gay Rights Rally; Dozens Arrested — VIDEO


Dozens were arrested at a gay rights rally in St. Petersburg, Russia today.

Check out a stunning video of the clash, AFTER THE JUMP...

The AP reports:

Officials in St. Petersburg deemed that the rally, which took place in a space designated for public demonstrations, violated the law. The statute essentially prohibits public displays of homosexuality, as well as talking about it to children.

About 200 nationalists also gathered at the rally, chanting slogans such as "Sodomy will not pass," and throwing eggs and rocks at the gay-rights activists, who numbered about 40.

The state-run Itar-TASS news agency quoted an unnamed police official as saying police arrested dozens of people, including eight nationalists.

RIA Novosti adds:

The Russian LGBT network said on its Facebook page Saturday that several activists were beaten up by their opponents during the event, and more than 50 were held by the police. Eight of the anti-gay activists were detained as well, the police said. One of the police officers was injured while trying to detain an anti-gay activist, local Fonatanka.Ru news website reported.

The Field of Mars is the city’s “Hyde Park” where demonstrations are allowed without special sanctions.

Check out a stunning video of the clash, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Blood Drawn in Major Clash at St. Petersburg, Russia Gay Rights Rally; Dozens Arrested — VIDEO" »

Lady Gaga Thanks Russia's Medvedev For Opposing Anti-Gay Law


Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev was asked last night about a spate of anti-gay laws in Russia, including the "gay propaganda" fines enacted in St. Petersburg, where Lady Gaga is performing this evening. Such laws are unnecessary, he said.

"Not all moral issues, behavioral habits and inter-personal communication patterns have to become legislatures," said the prime minister. "Because not all relationships have to be legislatively regulated."

Pleased by the PM's stand against his conservative allies, Lady Gaga tweeted him some love, "Thank You Prime Minister Medvedev for not standing by your party's anti gay propaganda law & instead supporting my show+fans all over Russia." Madonna of course flouted St. Petersburg's draconian edict, which led to fines, a failed $10 million lawsuit and a warning from the State Department.

Officials to Hit Madonna with $17,000 Fine for Violating St. Petersburg Law Against Gay 'Propaganda': REPORT


Madonna faces a fine for her violating St. Petersburg, Russia's ban on 'gay propaganda' for the demonstration at her concert yesterday, according to reports from activists in the country.

MilonovSaid Polina Savchenko, director of the St. Petersburg LGBT group, Coming Out, in an email obtained by Towleroad:

LGBT organization Coming Out, printed 330 rainbow posters with the saying "No Fear" that were distributed to the crowd. Although some posters were confiscated by security, their display had a huge emotional effect during the show. Many fans raised them during Madonna's speech, and she reacted by saying "No Fear, that's right" before insisting that fear was the basis of all discrimination, and that tolerance could only be guaranteed by love, the opposite of fear. During the performance of "Like A Prayer", while dancers were raising a rainbow flag provided by a member of Coming Out and the Russian LGBT Network, Madonna took a "No Fear" poster from the crowd and raised it for 25,000 people to see. Same as for "Pussy Riot" support in Moscow, she had tattooed her back, this time with "No Fear." Gay bashing scenes from gay demonstrations in Russia, pictures of teenagers who died because of homophobia, and many gay and lesbian kisses were shown during the very political "Nobody Knows Me" Interlude Video.

Madonna's support was extremely moving. Most of the mostly heterosexual crowd reacted positively to her message by raising pink wristbands that were distributed to everyone to support the LGBT community. The LGBT in the audience received Madonna's support with both smiles and tears, and gratified her with the universal message "We love you" at the end of the show.

Author of the "propaganda" law in St. Petersburg, Vitaly Milonov (pictured) today declared that Madonna broke the law and is planning to charge her with a fine of 500,000 rubles ($17 000).

Here's an Epic Fantasia About Gays Fighting Back in St. Petersburg, Russia: VIDEO


Director Elias Koskimies sends us his short musical film "I've Only Just Begun" which he put together with more than 60 people who volunteered their time. The clip is set somewhere just outside of St. Petersburg, and is a stunning visual statement about LGBT discrimination, individuality, and gays fighting back against those who oppress them.

Check it out, AFTER THE JUMP...

St. Petersburg, as you may know, recently passed a ban on "gay propaganda" which bars (and imposes fines for) gay groups, gay books and periodicals, LGBT Pride events, and other "promotion" of homosexuality. It's being considered in Moscow, and nationally in Russia.

Madonna In STP: 'Show Your Love And Appreciation To The Gay Community' - VIDEO [tlrd]

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Continue reading "Here's an Epic Fantasia About Gays Fighting Back in St. Petersburg, Russia: VIDEO" »


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