GALA Winner Convicted In Russia

elena klimova

Lena Klimova, winner of 2014’s International Award at Ireland’s annual Gay and Lesbian Awards (GALAs) ceremony, has been convicted under Russia’s controversial ‘anti-propaganda’ law of “propagating non-traditional sexual relations among minors”.

Klimova, a journalist and author of a book about LGBTI teenagers, was fined 50,000 rubles (approximatively €650) for her work as founder of Children-404, a supportive online community on social networking site Vkontakte where teenagers can discuss LGBTI issues.

Elena Klimova
Klimova, holding a copy of Russian LGBT publication, Rosbalt, in 2013

The site, which lists up to 45,000 members, also organises online discussions with leaders of the LGBTI movement and has a network of voluntary psychologists who provide online support.

Children-404 was founded in response to the introduction of Russia’s draconian ‘anti-propaganda’ law in 2013. The law, which drew criticism from human rights groups and LGBT activist worldwide, defines ‘propaganda’ as “the spreading information in order to form non-traditional sexual desires in children, describing such relations as attractive, promoting a distorted understanding of the social equality of traditional and non-traditional relations and through unwanted exposure to information that could provoke interest in such relations”.

Charges were filed against Klimova following complaints from members of Molodaya Gvardia (Youth Guard), a youth organisation of the main Russian political party Edinaya Rossia (United Russia), reports Human Rights group Front Line Defenders. Similar charges had been filed against Klimova in 2014 for her earlier published work about LGBTI teens but charges were later dismissed.

Klimova has said she will appeal the ruling.

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