John M. Becker

President Obama Meets With Russian LGBT Activists

Filed By John M. Becker | September 06, 2013 2:15 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Politics
Tags: Barack Obama, gay propaganda, President Obama, Russia, Russian anti-LGBT laws, Russian propaganda, Russian propaganda law, St. Petersburg

kochetkov.jpgIn a major show of solidarity with Russia's LGBT community, President Obama met with Igor Kochetkov and Olga Lenkova -- leaders in the Russian LGBT movement -- in St. Petersburg today, according to a report from the traveling White House press pool.

The meeting, which took place at a Crown Plaza hotel near the airport, lasted a little more than an hour and was also attended by U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice and seven other civil society activists.

In his remarks, the President told the group that his belief in the importance of community advocacy stems from personal experience:

"I got my start as a community organizer, somebody who was working in what would be called an NGO in the international community. I got elected president by engaging people at a grassroots level."

lenkova.jpgMr. Obama called the activists' work "critically important. "I'm very proud of their work," he said. "Part of good government is making sure we're creating a space for civil society."

Kochetkov -- shown above being detained for protesting St. Petersburg's "gay propaganda ban" -- is the director of Russia's LGBT Network; Lenkova (left) is a spokesperson for Coming Out, a regional LGBT organization based in St. Petersburg.

Photo of Kochetkov via RIA Novosti.
Photo of Lenkova via Facebook.

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