ADDED ON: 12/31/2021

Hidden in plain view, Russian photographer defies country’s anti-gay law

12/31/2021 | Los Angeles Blade

MOSCOW- Since the passage of the measure known colloquially as the “gay propaganda law” by the Russian parliament and signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2013, which ostensibly makes any act or event that authorities deem to promote homosexuality to minors illegal and punishable by a fine, it has had broader scope of enforcement by Russian authorities. The overall effect has been chilling on the country’s LGBTQ community to freely express itself in public spaces, which has led a partial return to circumstances of existing underground in Russian society, although not to the degree as was the case during the era of the former Soviet Union. The more pronounced effect on chilling freedom of expression has been the legislation deployed by authorities across Russia to prevent LGBTQ+ Pride parades and detain LGBTQ activists. The passage of the law has also been accompanied by an increase in anti-LGBTQ violence in the country, according to The Russian LGBT Network and Human Rights Watch, both non-governmental organizations which advocate for LGBTQ civil and human rights. However, the law has also had a detrimental effect on scores of Russian artists, photographers, filmmakers and others who fear running afoul of the interpretation and application of the law by oft times homophobic authorities. There are those in the greater Russian artist community who have chosen to openly defy Russian censorship and the draconian “gay propaganda law.”

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