Gay couple, Andrei Vaganov and Evgeny Erofeyev, have reportedly had to flee Russia after authorities threatened to take their adopted children away. Authorities claim they have broken the law by telling their children that they are married which they say violates the “gay propaganda law”.
The couple has been raising their two sons for over a decade. Vaganov adopted the children, now 12 and 14, shortly before the pair were married in Denmark.
The two fathers brought their sons to a hospital in Moscow after a suspected illness. Doctors in the hospital reported the couple to federal authorities, the Investigative Committee of Russia, who went on to charge the adoption agency of “negligence” for allowing the children to be adopted by a gay man.
A report of the case said that one of the fathers “promotes unconventional relations, forming distorted ideas about family values in children, harming their health, moral and spiritual development.”
“We never asked our children to hide anything,” Vaganov told independent Russian news outlet Meduza. “This was our conscious position: why is it somehow stigmatising and so on. Here we live, we are an ordinary family.”
When their son, Yuri, was discharged from the hospital, Vaganov and Erofeyev were ordered to report to the police for questioning.
Yuri was ordered to undergo a physical examination to rule out abuse.
“This, frankly, is a very traumatic event for a child,” Vaganov explained. adoption. “They inspect Yuri, he swears, cries. 40 minutes, probably this all went on.”
Shortly after the investigation began misinformation was spread on the internet saying that the couple had “raped a child”.
Their older son Denis was also called in for an interview.
“Because in such situations, children are simply removed from the family before further proceedings, which can last for years, since the article is related to the sexual integrity of the child,” Vaganov said.
A spokesperson from LGBT+ support organisation Vykhod, Maksim Olenichev has said that there has never been a situation like this before.
The organisation was helping the couple with their legal case and advised the gay couple to flee Russia. The situation is worrying as it could set a legal precedent for other same-sex couples in the country. Olenichev said, “We think we need to defend this family from the actions of the state. This is the next twist in that law.”
With LGBT+ activists being attacked, receiving numerous death threats and the recent murder of Yelena Grigoryeva, the situation for LGBT+ people and their families is precarious in Russia. This case of a family being torn apart is a further step backwards.
The infamous “propaganda law” prevents positive representation of LGBT+ people and communities on any media platform. The Russian government says that it protects children from “unconventional” identities.
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