There’s little doubt that things have gotten a lot worse for gay people in Russia in the last couple of years – just in the last week, President Vladimir Putin has signed laws banning the ‘promotion’ of homosexuality (essentially making any pro-gay public statements illegal) and stopped foreign gay couples from adopting Russian children, as apparently they’re better off in an orphanage than in a loving home.
Now bisexual actress Tilda Swinton has made her own small act of protest against the Russian authorities, holding up the rainbow flag in front of the Kremlin in Red Square. The actress’ rep sent out the photo, adding the messages, “In solidarity. From Russia with love.”
Along with the new laws, for many years cities across Russia have been banning Pride parades and arresting anyone who wants to hold one. Two members of the Punk protest band Pussy Riot remain in jail for their acts in trying to stop the increasingly repressive actions of the Russian government.
The likes of the EU and UN have tried to remind Russia of its obligations under international law not to oppress gay people. The country is a signatory to European Convention on Human Rights, which is supposed to stop countries from discriminating against gay people. However Russia has said it has no obligations to be nice to gay people, as they apparently believe the wording of the convention protects everyone except gays, despite the European Court of Human Rights repeatedly telling them otherwise.
While the situation for gay people has improved in most of the rest of Europe in the last few years, in Russia it’s gone the other way.