Wed, Aug 14, 2013 - Page 12 News List

Locking the closet

Young people who are facing hatred and violence turn to the Internet to look for help and support

By Kevin O’Flynn  /  The guardian, Moscow

Svetlana was once having dinner and on one of “the damn channels of this no less damnable country there was a show about LGBT”. She remembers the scorn and contempt of her mother. “She calls homosexuals — and that means me too — mutants.” Her father said he was ready to go out with his gun and kill them, while her older sister said they should be treated in psychiatric hospitals. Svetlana has still not come out to her family.

Homosexuality was only legalized in Russia in 1993. Now the new law is in danger of breaking the morale of some of those who see only a future of concealment and unhappiness. “When they passed the law, all the teens I know were in despair. You know, in reality, the law is aimed at them,” said Klimova.

Vicious physical assaults have continued with depressing frequency. A man in Volgograd was murdered after revealing to friends that he was gay. A vigilante group lured young teens on social media by pretending to be older men looking for sex and then humiliated them on videos which they uploaded to the internet. “LGBT are called paedophiles, carriers of HIV/Aids, whatever you want, but not normal people. Of course people feel that and of course there are more hate crimes,” said Klimova.

She is certain that there will be no boycott of the Winter Olympics. But she does have one plea. “Sportsmen can go to the opening ceremony with a rainbow flag in support of Russian LGBT. It would be very valuable,” she said.

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