Russia's Gay Propaganda Law Damages Children

The Human Rights Watch have expressed serious concern over Russia's anti-LGBT+ laws.

Activists protest Russia's anti-LGBT laws against Russian police

The Human Rights Watch has confirmed that Russia’s ‘gay propaganda’ law is having a damaging effect on children and young people.

Russian president Vladimir Putin signed the federal law into legislation in 2013, on the grounds that LGBT+ people pose a threat to the ‘traditional’ Russian family unit.

Yesterday, the Human Rights Watch released a statement in which they outline the various ways in which Russia’s anti-LGBT+ laws put children and young people at a serious risk:

“Russia’s ‘gay propaganda’ law is harming youth by cutting them off from vital information. Amid the intense social hostility surrounding LGBT people in Russia, the law stops mental health providers from counselling children who have questions about sexual orientation and gender identity.”

The law in question bans “the promotion of nontraditional sexual relations to minors”, and refers to information provided by newspapers, television, radio and the internet. The law violates the rights to freedom of expression and freedom from discrimination that is guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights.

The Human Rights Watch stated that the law “directly harms children by denying them access to essential information and fostering stigma against LGBT children and their families”.

The statement continued:

“The law has been used to shut down online information and mental health referral services for children and discourage support groups and mental health professionals from working with children. It has further entrenched antipathy toward LGBT people, and it has had a chilling effect on mental health professionals who work with LGBT youth, with some psychologists reporting self-censorship on issues of sexual orientation and gender identity.”

LGBT+ people continue to face persecution in Russia. While same-sex relationships were decriminalized in 1993, Pride festivals are routinely denied permits while LGBT+ activists face arrest. Russia is ranked as the least protective country in Europe for LGBT+ citizens.

© 2018 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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