State Department Updates Travel Warning for LGBT Visitors to Russia

Jim Burroway

October 4th, 2013

The update isn’t dated, so I don’t know when it came out, but recent anti-gay legislation in Russia has the State Department issuing this warning for LGBT visitors:

Attitudes towards lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals: Discrimination based on sexual orientation is widespread in Russia. Harassment, threats, and acts of violence targeting LGBT individuals have occurred. Government officials have been known to make derogatory comments about LGBT persons.

In June 2013, the State Duma passed a law banning “the propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations” to minors. Russian citizens found guilty of violating the law could face a fine of up to 100,000 rubles ($3,100). Foreign citizens face similar fines, up to 15 days in jail, and deportation. The law is vague as to what will be considered propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations. As a result, commentators have suggested that the law may make it a crime to promote LGBT equality in public. Violence against the LGBT community has increased sharply since the law was passed, including entrapment and torture of young gay men by neo-Nazi gangs and the murder of multiple individuals due to their sexual orientation. Many view this legislation as encouraging such violence, with the majority of attacks against members of the LGBT community going unreported.

LGBT travelers should review the LGBT Travel Information page.

 

mattnyc

October 5th, 2013

Unfortunately, the cruise we are taking in May has a stop in Petropavlovsk before heading to Vancouver. We have no intent to spend as much as a kopek in Russia and are debating even leaving the pier area (we do want to stretch our legs before resetting sail). Except that I don’t wish to cause trouble for the ship, I was wondering whether a kiss-in on the deck of the ship or putting a rainbow flag in our window could draw the ire of authorities. I suppose the topic will come up beforehand at the nightly “friends of dorothy” gatherings before we reach Russia.

I am almost hoping for an itinerary change cancelling that stop.

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