On Saturday, December 14 Moscow LGBT group Rainbow Association and several independent Russian LGBT activists staged a public “kiss-in” at the IKEA store in Khimki, Moscow region, protesting removal of a lesbian family story from the Russian edition of IKEA catalogue.
Two gay male same sex-couples and one female couple held a public “kiss-in” at the IKEA store in Khimki, attracting the attention of visitors. Surprised shoppers reacted calmly and filmed the “kiss-in” on camera, and did not act aggressively.
By staging the “kiss-in” activists wanted to express their disagreement with the fact that the Russian branch of IKEA furniture giant has withdrawn a story of a lesbian couple from the 2013 catalogue. Ylva Magnusson, IKEA spokeswoman, explained this decision by the need to abide the law “On propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations to minors.” Domestic and global LGBT community considers the act of the Russian IKEA branch as cowardice.
“The usual story about the life of a same-sex couple is not regarded and can not be regarded as propaganda”, says Gleb Latnik, coordinator of the action. ” This is what we feared from the start: the law is so vague that any positive or neutral information about same-sex relationships will fall under it, and we see it happening now. Today we have staged the action to show IKEA top management that among their clients in Russia there are also gay couples who are not happy about such attitude to them”.
Rainbow Association Chairman Andrei Obolensky added that this action is also aimed against the policy of double standards in transnational corporations, in situations when in countries like USA and Western Europe this is a corporate policy of non-discrimination of LGBT citizens, while coming to the Russian market these organizations are doing nothing to improve the situation of LGBT workers in their own organizations, but also forgetting about the principles of the target audience, considered as such in their country, but they are also “uncomfortable” in Russia cowardly hiding their heads in the sand trying not notice it.
Rainbow Association calls LGBT activists to stage such “kiss-in” events in all Russian cities with IKEA stores. If they find it impossible for them to kiss, then Rainbow Association urges them to take picture with LGBT symbols in the store logo on the background of IKEA to demand not to cross out LGBT people, not to remove them from the catalogue. “We are here, we have our family here too! Ours families are not invisible!”, Rainbow Association calls.
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Photo by Svetlana Danchenkova