On January 31, founder and leader of the Russian LGBT teens support group “Children 404″, journalist Lena Klimova from Nizhnij Tagil is sued for violation of the gay propaganda ban law. Klimova is accused of creating an internet support group on social networks. The case was brought up by request of St. Petersburg MP Vitaly Milonov.
Klimova was initially summoned to the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs intermunicipal “Nizhnij Tagil” administratioin on January 17, for questioning associated with the statements of the MP Milonov who requested to fine Klimova and close the project. Today Lena was called to the investigator for the second time to process a protocol of an administrative offense. The protocol was put together by the Criminal Investigation Department detective, police captain Bulanichev K.
According to the protocol, Klimova “had registered a page on VKontakte Internet website that promotes non-traditional sexual relations among minors, expressed in the dissemination of information aimed at developing non-traditional sexual concepts in minors, attractiveness of non-traditional sexual relationships, distorted notions of social equivalence of traditional and non-traditional sexual relations.” The investigator finds it to be a violation of the federal law “On the protection of children from information harmful to their health and development” and other legislative acts. According to him , Klimova had committed an offense under Part 2 of Art . 6.21 of the Administrative Code , which prohibits “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations.”
The protocol misses any specific points on what exactly Klimova is accused of. The Court session is to take place in 15-30 days.
Nizhny Tagil journalist Lena Klimova created the “Children 404″ group in March, 2013 . The project emerged as a result of Lena’s publications on the problems of LGBT adolescents, after which she began to recieve a lot of letters from these teens. The social network group publishes letters of teens in which they share their personal stories, sometimes very sad and bitter, talk about their problems, harassment by peers and parents misunderstanding that they have had to endure. At the moment the project page has over a thousand letters published.
“Considering general trends, I’m not surprised. But it is very unfortunate to recognize that letters of gay teens are considered as propaganda of homosexuality among teens themselves. This is absurd! Milonov, author of the request, had two requirements: to fine me and to close the group. If it is closed, LGBT teens lose the only place where they can talk openly about themselves and get advice to help them live. It would be a disaster, “- says Lena Klimova.
Harassment of the group founder triggers a start of a public campaign in defense of Russian LGBT adolescents and the “Children 404″ project, as stated in a press release distributed by the Straight Alliance for LGBT Equality group. The organization encourages non-governmental organizations and all people of goodwill to join the campaign.
LGBT adolescents in Russia are declared “socially unequal”, as well as LGBT adults are. Any support of LGBT teens is outlawed, they can not be told the truth that they are normal. And now they are going to be silenced, with declaring childrens’ letters as something criminal. And this is despite the fact that Russia holds 1st place in Europe for teenage suicide. The state deploys targeted harassment of LGB T teens that threatens their lives, pushing children to commit suicide, the press release says.
At least every third LGBT teen in Russia has thought about suicide, at least one of five has ever tried to commit suicide on the same grounds, says Lena Klimova. “The reason to have thoughts on suicide are internalized homophobia, physical and psychological violence (including outing) from relatives and friends. But all this is ‘not enough’. Most often suicidal thoughts occur when a teenager is lonely, in the sense that he or she has no one to talk to and no one to trust . In contrast, suicide almost never is tought of by those who have a reliable friend or affirming parents,”- Klimova says. The data is based on a survey of 293 people she conducted in July 2013 .
Photo from Children 404 Facebook page