John M. Becker

Russian Pol Harasses St. Petersburg LGBT Film Festgoers

Filed By John M. Becker | September 20, 2013 3:20 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: gay propaganda, Russia, Russian anti-LGBT laws, Russian propaganda, Russian propaganda law, St. Petersburg, Vitaly Milonov

vitaly_milonov.jpgThe author of St. Petersburg, Russia's infamous ban on public displays of so-called "gay propaganda" -- which served as the model for the national ban Vladimir Putin signed this summer -- planted himself outside an LGBT film festival with a group of friends, shouted homophobic slurs, and physically attacked at least two guests, local LGBT group Coming Out reports.

From the group's press release:

"[At] the entrance to the building, the visitors were met with the now world-infamous author of the St. Petersburg "propaganda of lesbianism, sodomy, bisexuality, and transgenderism" law, United Russia city parliament deputy Vitaly Milonov. Milonov, together with 5-6 of his companions, verbally insulted the guests, calling them 'un-Russian,' 'faggots,' and 'animals.' Two of the visitors were physically attacked, shoved, and slapped in the face, but no major injuries were incurred.

"In the middle of the ceremony, the police arrived, most probably called in by the Milonov team. Finding no cause for action and everything in order, the police tried to intimidate the venue owners into presenting ownership papers, but lacking grounds for doing so, had to back down."

Milonov and his gang of thugs were protesting the fifth annual Queer Fest, which opened yesterday in St. Petersburg.

"150 visitors crowded the art gallery 'Nesuschestvuyuschij Etazh' (The Non-Existent Floor) in St. Petersburg for the opening of the 5th International Queer Festival, to celebrate together the pride, rights, and lives of LGBT people in Russia.

"[Visitors] included members of a wide variety of civil society and human rights organization of St. Petersburg, such as the Human Rights Council of St. Petersburg, Anti-dicsrimination Center 'Memorial,' Russian LGBT Network, Side by Side LGBT film festival, Alliance of Heterosexuals for LGBT Rights and others, and representatives of Swedish, Danish, Finnish cultural institutes and several diplomatic missions of European countries and the US. Many warm words were said about the continuing the struggle for human rights and the importance of collaboration.

"Visitors also enjoyed the photo exhibition dedicated to the Russian LGBT history throughout the 20th century."

Coming Out says that despite Milonov's attempts to derail the opening festivities, the event was a success.

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