Conviction Overturned in Russian Gay Propaganda Case

Recently a Russian teen was persecuted under the anti-gay "gay propaganda" law for posting pictures online. However, while he was found guilty initially, his conviction has been overturned, according to Pink News.

Russia's "gay propaganda" law basically bans anyone from promoting "propaganda" of any sexuality other than heterosexual, according to Mic. After the 2013 bill became law, multiple bans on pride parades have been instated as well as a surge in violence against LGBTQ people, among other things. This is a step backwards for equality in Russia and a slap in the face for LGBTQ Russians. 

Maxim Neverov, the teen who was charged with "propaganda of homosexuality among minors" for posting pictures online that could be construed as pictures of people in same-sex relationships, filed an appeal with his lawyer, Artem Lapov, to contest his conviction. Part of his conviction included him paying a fine of approximately $760.000 for posting the pictures online, but Lapov was firm in saying that Neverov was not paying the fine or accepting the conviction.

Neverov participated in a public protest called "Gays for Putin" as well as submitted twelve applications for the performance (all rejected) attempted to organize a pride parade, which led the Russian LGBT Network to believe that Maxim was targeted. 

Investigators reviewed Neverov's case materials and interviewed witnesses under the assumption of Maxim's innocence. They found no in incriminating evidence and decided to reverse their initial decision and Neverov does not have to pay the fine. 

While Neverov's conviction was overturned, things in Russia for LGBT people are still unequal. Since the law was passed, crimes against LGBT Russians have increased, many LGBT activists have been detained by the police, and a great deal of requests for pride events were shut down. Yes, the conviction being reversed is definitely a step forward, but the fact that the gay propaganda law was put in place initially speaks to a nefarious view of non-heterosexual people. 

h/t: Pink NewsMic

Apple Blocked The Apple Watch’s Gay Pride Feature In Russia

Come Pride month, Apple is constantly promoting its commitment to celebrating equality and diversity in all ways, but it looks like Apple has its exceptions.

For instance, Apple announced the Pride Apple Watch face back in June. The design is reminiscent of the Pride flag and is meant to boldly announce Apple, and Apple users’, support for LGBTQ people.

Unfortunately, iOS developer Guilherme Rambo discovered yesterday that the Apple Watch face has been “hardcoded to not show up if the paired iPhone is using the Russian locale.”

After Rambo made this announcement, Verge reporter Tom Warren tested out the device and found that the Watch face disappears as soon as the connected iPhone switches to a Russian location.

Plus, the Mirror reports that the optional Apple’s Watch Pride strap also doesn’t sell in the country of Russia.

Again, this development is confusing as Apple has openly supported LGBTQ rights before, but it seems like it all comes down to money and the law.

In 2013, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed in a “gay propaganda” law. The law is supposedly designed to protect Russian citizens, specifically the youth, from being subjected to viewing LGBTQ content.

It seems that by banning the Apple Watch Pride face, Apple preemptively blocked the design from appearing in Russian quarters. As such, there’s no risk of being fined by the government.

That said, that’s only an assumption made by those who have discovered this hardcoding. In addition, Apple hasn’t made a comment on this development since Rambo initially pointed it out yesterday.

h/t: The Verge, The Mirror, Fast Company

The First Official Russian Pride Parade Was Banned Before it Occured

A tiny village known as Yablonevy in Russia was set to hold the nation's first officially approved LGBTQ+ Pride parade but the permission was denied by local authorities. The government of Novoulyanovsk holds jurisdiction over the village so its mayor approved the Pride parade which activists originally wanted to hold in that city's center but then decided against. In order to avoid conflict, they decided to move the parade to Yablonevy, a small town in Russia with 7 residents. However, the city manager overrode the decision to have the parade and claimed their permit was invalid because he had not been consulted before the city change had been made.

The city manager, Gennady Denikayev, said:

"I made a decision, there will be no gay parade. We intend to protect traditional family values and, foremost, our children from the propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations."

That type of "propaganda" was explcitly banned by 2013 Russian law when they stated that any positive mention of LGBTQ+ rights or identity is prohibited. All attempts to hold Pride events in major Russian cities have been banned by the government. However, there was a "rogue" Pride rally held in St. Petersburg in 2017 that was not approved by authorities. Since the city of Moscow issued a ban in 2012, gay Pride parades have been banned for the next hundred years.

h/t: Advocate, ProudOut.com

This Viral Russian Election Ad Has A Very Gay Twist

Oh Russia, sending us mixed signals again?

It’s nearing close to election time in the Country of Russia with votes set to start in September, and a new interesting video has popped up ahead of that time.

According to GayStarNews, no one knows where the now viral election video came from for sure, but several people have guessed that it’s the work of the local government.

The video itself, which you can watch below, shows two men discussing the upcoming election. The video shows them in deep conversation as they sit at a park bench, ride a public bus, and walk down the sidewalk.

While a translated version has not been found yet, the Moscow Times reports that the two men comment that elections are an “an illusion of democracy.” They then state that they won't vote.

The last scene then shows the two men entering an apartment bedroom and taking their clothes off.

As they do this, one man is overheard saying, “Let the others go and vote. We have more important things to do."

The video ends with one man lying face down on the bed, in just his underwear, and another man closing the door as he unzips his pants.

While this video seems VERY GAY at a first glance, it actually presents a pretty messed up message.

The message the advertisement is trying to present is that if citizens don’t vote, they’re gay. Basically, this is a homophobic scare tactic to get people voting and present this image of LGBT people being lazy/irresponsible citizens. And this isn’t the first time an ad like this has shown up.

When even teenagers are being charged for Russia’s Anti-Gay Propaganda law, it’s amazing that whoever’s behind this video, government or not, has gotten away with zero fines.

Just another day in Russia.

h/t: Gay Star News, The Moscow Times

Russian Teen Found Guilty Of "Gay Propaganda" After Posting Pictures On Social Media

A Russian teen has been charged a 50,000 rubles ($762.50) fine for posting gay propaganda online.

16-year-old Maxim Neverov has been charged with “propaganda of homosexuality among minors,” according to LGBTQ advocacy group the Russian LGBT Network.

What caused this “offense” was the uploading of images onto the social media site “VKontakte.” An office report on the case overseen by the Commission on Minors and the Protection of Minors’ Rights says that Neverov shared “some pictures (photos) of young men whose appearance (partly nude body parts) had the characteristics of propaganda of homosexual relations according to the expert opinion.”

The Russian LGBT Network provided a lawyer, named Artem Lapov, for Neverov, but they unfortunately lost the case. Lapov is now trying to appeal the decision and says it violates Neverov’s freedom of expression.

To add to that point, Lapov shares that the commission never proved that Neverov posted the pictures himself. Plus, they wanted Neverov to give his testimony to the police officer filing the report without the consult of his lawyer. Neverov refused and thus never got his testimony on the record.

The Russian LGBT Network also pointed out the convenience of Neverov, a minor, being the target of this charge made to protect minors.

Earlier this year, Maxim Neverov was one of the organizers for a performance titled “Gay or Putin.” The performance was so infamously shared by new sources that even the federal legislative assembly, called the Duma, allegedly discussed it. In addition, Neverov’s case materials mention a pride parade that he tried to organize.

Again, Maxim Neverov’s lawyer, Artem Lapov, is trying appeal the court case, but the Commission will provide the reasoning for its judgment before that happens.

h/t: The Russian LGBT Network

Gay 20-Year-Old Survivor of Chechen Concentration Camps Kidnapped From Russian Safehouse -- By His Father

In 2017, the Chechen government abducted, imprisoned and tortured over 200 men in the Chechen Republic suspected of being gay or bisexual. At least 26 men have died in the Chechen concentration camps for homosexuals, the first of their kind since the Holocaust.

Attitude reports a gay survivor of one of these camps was just kidnapped—by his own father.

Zelimkhan Akhmadov, 20, was taking out the garbage at a Russian safe house when witnesses heard him screaming for help. Kidnappers, including his father, had forced him into a car.

He managed to send a brief text message —“help me”— to the Russian LGBT Network. The Network contacted St. Petersburg police.

The closest thing to good news here: based on license plate information, local police found Zelimkhan and his kidnappers.

The kidnappers have been arrested. Zelimkhan is in protective custody with a lawyer and representation from the Russian LGBT Network.

At the police station, Zelimkhan’s father reportedly repeated threats to his son, saying he brought shame to the family. He demanded his son record a video denying he’d suffered any persecution, but he denied.

Akhmadov was detained, imprisoned and tortured multiple times in Chechnya’s gay purge. He was pressured to out his friends, placed on a federal wanted list and warned that his family had been told to kill him in an “honor killing.” He was placed in a safehouse by the Russian LGBT Network.

In April, he was nearly kidnapped by Chechen police and some of his own family members. He managed to escape, but a friend he was staying with was stabbed by kidnappers.

The Chechen Republic is a part of the Russian Federation. The Russian government has steadfastly denied any persecution of LGBTQ+ people in Chechnya.

h/t: Attitude

h/t: Metro Weekly 

h/t: The Advocate 

LGBTQ Activists Create #HiddenFlag In Russian Photo Campaign

In that Russia currently has a ban on 'gay propaganda' - which would include even a simple rainbow flag - a group of activists have undertaken a secret mission to share the colors of pride.

According to Buzzfeed, Spain-based digital ad agency LOLA MullenLowe recently teamed up with FELGTB, Spain's federation for LGBT rights, to take a series of rainbow-themed photos in Russia during the World Cup.

Calling themselves 'The Hidden Flag,' they took the rainbow flag to the streets of Russia hiding in plain sight.

From the official website:

We have taken advantage of the fact the country is hosting the World Cup at the same time as Pride Month, to denounce their behaviour and take the rainbow flag to the streets of Russia.

Yes, in the plain light of day, in front of the Russian authorities, Russian society and the whole world, we wave the flag with pride.

How? In a way that no one would ever suspect. Football shirts.

Spain, The Netherlands, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Colombia. Six countries. Six brave LGBT activists, that together, form the flag that toured around iconic sites in Russia, traveling to every corner to fight against a struggle that will never be silenced.



There was one scary moment for the activists. As they were leaving Russia, one of the six participants, Colombian Mateo Fernandez, was detained for 15 hours by officials at the airport. 

Fernandez told Gay Star News he wasn’t sure if he was detained because he’s Colombian or if the authorities in Russia had come to realize he is engaged in LGBTQ activism. He was placed in a small room and interrogated about his activities while in Russia.

The authorities took his phone and belongings and held him for almost a full day asking questions. Fernandez says the group had agreed, if anything happened, they would all just say they were in the country as tourists.

At one point his phone was returned and he contacted the ad company. A rep for the ad company offered to come help but Fernandez worried it would only raise more suspicions.

The 29-year-old admits he cried three times during the questioning but was eventually released. Having missed two flights, he flew to safety in Amsterdam.

Fernandez told Gay Star News that as a gay Colombian, he’s been ‘randomly selected’ more often than most travelers at international airports.

Members of The Hidden Flag confirmed that the campaign photos weren’t released until the entire group was safely out of Russia.

“When we were doing it, I was scared shitless,” says the Colombian. But he adds, “It was completely worth it.”

Visit the official website for more photos from the campaign as well as info about each activist.

Gay Couple Brutally Attacked In Russia Before World Cup

Just prior to the first match of this year’s World Cup in St. Petersburg, a gay couple were brutally attacked.

A Frenchman identified only as O. Davrius and his partner, who hasn’t been named, were physically assaulted and robbed of their money and cellphones. Davrius suffered a fractured jaw, an open head injury and possible brain damage.

The opening match in the 2018 World Cup was between two anti-LGBTQ+ nations: Saudi Arabia and Russia.

Davrius and his partner were reportedly targeted and attacked after they caught a taxi.

Perhaps you know this already, but FIFA is the worst. Just the absolute worst. Driven solely by the desire for profit, they’ve ignored the civil rights and safety of fans, and even players, for decades. They’ve received a great deal of criticism for the decision to hold this year’s games in Russia, especially in light of the incarcerations and executions in Chechnya.

Organizations for LGBTQ+ soccer fans have been receiving threats for months leading up to the World Cup. One such group, Pride in Football, received messages saying LGBTQ+ soccer fans would be hunted down and killed.

Russia’s government is openly homophobic. Anti-LGBTQ+ crimes in the nation have risen sharply since 2013, when the “gay propaganda” law came into play. This law bans any positive mention of LGBTQ+ people or rights in any place accessible to minors.

Nevertheless, in the weeks leading up to the opening ceremonies, this year’s World Cup organizing committee told LGBTQ+ fans that no harm would come to them at this year’s series.

In four years, FIFA is holding the World Cup in Qatar, where homosexuality is flat-out illegal.

h/t: si.com

Which Celeb Is Guaranteed To Help Cure Erectile Dysfunction?


We can go ahead and file this one under: "Um, What!?" Cutie Zach Braff is best known for his role on the long-running comedy Scrubs, and while the series was popular in America, it was wildly popular in the Ukraine and Russia, and Braff is still feeling the effects to this day! Interestingly, in an ad for men who can't feel anything.

Zach's likeness of his onscreen character J.D. is so popular that Russians often use it, unsanctioned, for ads, and a new one is for erectile dysfunction specifically! U.S.S.R. you kidding me? Braff was on hand to discuss the hilarious story on Jimmy Kimmel Live, where he elaborated:

Yeah, this keeps happening to me. I don't think they think anyone's going to walk down the street and be like 'Hey, copyright infringement!'



Kimmel explained the specific ad in question:

This has been translated for me, and it pretty much says like 'If you're penis isn't working, I'll help you. Call this number.'

He then quipped:

Are you at all worried that Robert Mueller will subpoena you to be a part of the investigation?

To which Braff hilariously responded:

Only if he needs help with his boner.

In the picture, J.D. can be seen in his full doctor getup along with all the information you need to make an informed decision about addressing ED, and you can hear all the deets in the funny interview. See, what could be untrustworthy about Russia?