Russia: Activist in Court on ‘Gay Propaganda’ Charge

A Russian court will soon decide whether posts that Evdokia Romanova, a Russian activist, made on social media back in 2015 amount to “gay propaganda” – a charge that could result in a fine for the accused and a further blow to freedom of expression in Russia.

If the court convicts Romanova, it would be at least the seventh conviction under Russia’s 2013 federal “gay propaganda” law that effectively prohibits any positive information about “non-traditional sexual relations” from public discussion.

Romanova is accused of sharing information on Facebook about the Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights, an international group that advocates for young people’s access to accurate information about health and sexuality. The group believes that information and education are vital for safeguarding the life, health, and well-being of young people.

While supporters of the law claim it protects children, the ban in fact directly harms them by denying them access to essential information and perpetuating stigma against LGBT children and family members. The law has rightly been condemned by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, the European Court of Human Rights, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe , and the Council of Europe.

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