When athletes and sportspersons from all parts of the world were excitedly looking forward to Russian Winter Olympics 2014, US State Department rolled out travel alerts, stating that people travelling to Russia during the Olympics need to stay alert and vigilant since there are a certain security threats. But that’s not it. Russian Games further came under the scanner because of the country’s continuation of Article 6.21, nation-wide anti-gay law which was introduced in June. There were many consequences of the law on an international level. People started boycotting Russian products and the country faced harsh criticism from some very popular Olympians.
Let’s examine closely that what exactly the law is and how it refrains the members of the LGBT community to express their freedom.
•So what does the law states exactly? – According to Article 6.21, promotion of non-traditional sexual relations, in front of minors counts as a civil offense. Now you must be wondering, what comes under ‘promotion’? You can’t reveal your sexual preferences in public places or on public mediums, you can’t kiss someone belonging to the same sex in public and you can’t discuss homosexuality with minors.
•So being gay is illegal in Russia or not? – Technically, you can be gay in Russia as Article 6.21 only bars you from expressing your feelings publically. There are no prohibitions on what you do inside your home.
•What happens if you get caught violating the rules? – They will not hang you for being gay! The maximum sentence you get is 15 days in jail. Usually you can get off by paying a fine of $30. If you have tried to promote homosexuality in media, you’ll have to pay around $1500-2000.
•So it’s safe for LGBT people to visit Russia? – It’s not that simple! On the ground level you can say that if you are gay and you keep that a secret, you’ll be fine. But the truth is that almost 90 percent Russians support the anti-gay laws. Therefore, there is always a possibility of a violent breakout. So if you belong to the LGBT community, you can travel to Russia but make sure you are cautious about your orientation.