Israelis protests against homophobia in Russia

LGBT community protest in front of Russian embassy in Tel Aviv, against homophobic legislation

Some 200 people protested Saturday in front of the Russian embassy in Tel Aviv against LGTB-phobic legislation in Russia. The protesters were crying out “Stop homophobic legislation,” “No to Putin’s dictatorship,” as they are waving gay-pride flags and banging on drums.

Shai Deutch, chairman of the Israeli LGBT organization who attended the rally, said: “This protest is the result of cooperation between community groups and private organizations all protesting against (Russian President) Putin’s persecution against the LGBT community.”

He added that Putin was “using homophobia as a political tool, and we are here to express our support of the gay community and let it be known that we will not sit idly by while they are being persecuted.”

According to organizers, discriminatory laws in Russia, one prohibiting “homosexual propaganda,” and one penalizing those who offend religious feelings, in fact hinder “any substance that promotes equal rights for the LGBT community,” adding that “today it is practically illegal to be gay, lesbian, bi or trance out of the closet in Russia.”

Amnon Brownfield Stein, one of the rally’s organizers, said: “Russia has not been an open place for gays for years, but it was always a local issue. Last June the parliament passed two laws, which make it impossible being outside the closet in Russia and not get arrested. There are underground (groups) that abuse homosexuals, and the international community cannot stay silent any longer.”

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