Verba Volant, Scripta Manent

The Hill News

Verba Volant, Scripta Manent

The Hill News

Verba Volant, Scripta Manent

The Hill News

New Russian laws against the LGBTQ community darken the prospect of free expression

Media: Creative Commons
Russian students protest against the effective criminalization of the LGBTQ community. Russia’s Supreme Court, the Gosduma, recently cleared the way for a law that prohibits the distribution of any media that portrays or references non-traditional sexual orientation.

Editors’ note: At the request of the author, a student who is known to us and whose studies would be jeopardized by its disclosure, The Hill News believes publishing this article anonymously is the only way to deliver an important perspective to our readers.

After a long crusade supported by Putin, the Russian Supreme Court passed a terrifying new law, effectively outlawing the LGBTQ movement.

With the two-year mark from the start of Putin’s imperialistic invasion fast approaching, Russian citizens have lost many of the freedoms which were once afforded to them, as the iron fist of the supreme court clamps and crushes people and ideas which stray from the presented norm. This has been displayed for the entire world in a recent turn of events, in which the LGBTQ movement has now been labeled as an extremist organization.

In November of last year, the Gosduma, the Russian Supreme Court, passed an official stance on the LGBTQ movement, labeling it as an extremist organization, which is a status given to groups such as neo-Nazis and political opponents of Putin’s United Russia Party. According to member of the Gosduma, Alexander Khinshtein, the ban was “A logical continuation of the government’s policy of protecting its citizens, in particular underage ones, from harmful and negative content.”

The LGBTQ community has not had a good relationship with Russia’s government ever since 2013’s “Gay Propaganda Law” was put in place to silence and hide the LGBT from public eyes, with people often receiving fines just for telling people under 18 that the nontraditional sexual orientations exist. The notion that it will only get worse was cemented in 2022, when the law was further harshened by extending it to cover all public activities or information surrounding LGBT identity or behavior. Those found in violation of the law can face extensive fines, jail time, or even deportation.

This  stance is being openly spread through Russian media and fed to Russian students in schools, specifically targeting children who are not even in Elementary school yet. In a speech given about the subject on national, vice-speaker of the Gosduma Petr Tolstoy said that “the LGBTQ is not a poor group of gays and lesbians that the world says Russia is fighting against. In truth, the LGBT is a well-organized and carefully planned project against traditional values.

Tolstoy also remarked that “sodomy is a sin and the complete opposite of traditional values” and that “organized and presented sodomy is an even more dangerous weapon.”

Meredith Marks ’24, student representative of HASOGI, a student organization spreading LGBTQ rights and awareness on campus, shared her input and opinion on the subject.

When told about the laws the government is putting in place, Marks said that “the laws are absolutely horrid and disgusting.” She also remarked that “the fact that a government even has the power to arrest and persecute people over sexual orientation or gender identity is an incredibly grim to think about.”

The fact that these policies are able to be implemented in a large world power such as Russia can be a very frightening sight for smaller communities in different countries, especially ones with a willing and popular far right leaning population.

“There has been a history of small time persecution of people in the LGBT in countries like Russia, but this is a frightening step, and it shows the world what can happen in these situations,” Marks said.

“No one deserves to be thrown in jail or treated like a criminal because of personal identity,” Marks said. “People are people”.

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