Woman wears a rainbow flag during 2018 Russian protests advocating for queer rights. Photo: Shutterstock
In August 2012, the Moscow City Court upheld a ruling which banned Pride parades until 2112. That’s 93 years from now.
The court cited that Moscow Pride creates the possibility of public disorder, due to the lack of support for the queer community from the public.
The first Pride parades in Moscow took place in 2006, 2007 and 2008. They were bombarded with homophobic attacks. In 2009, the Russian LGBT Human Rights Project organized a parade at the last minute, avoideding some of the violence.
Russia has traditionally had extremely conservative views in regards to sexuality. A 2019 poll by the Russian Public Opinion Foundations revealed that only 7 per cent of Russian people agreed that same-sex marriages should be legal.
Although gay sex was decriminalized in 1993, the queer community faces ongoing challenges with discrimination and legal protection. There are currently no laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
Homosexuality was classified as a mental illness until 1999, and many institutions, like the military, operate on the “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” policy.
In Moscow, queer advocacy is viewed as “propaganda” that promotes non-traditional relationships, according to Yuri Luzhkov, Moscow’s former mayor. Luzhkov, who was dismissed in September 2010, opposed gay parades and made consistent efforts to ban them.
“We have banned and will continue to forbid this propaganda by sexual minorities.” He said at an international AIDS conference in Moscow in 2008. “We have banned and will continue to forbid this propaganda by sexual minorities, as they could turn out to be one of the factors in the spread of HIV infections.”
Despite prolonged distain for the Russian queer community, a 2019 survey showed that 47 per cent of citizens thought that “gays and lesbians should enjoy the same rights as other citizens.” This percentage rose from 39 per cent in 2013, marking the highest amount of support in over 14 years.
While pride parades in Moscow continue to be banned, there is a consistent effort from the Russian LGBT Human Rights Project to appeal the decisions from the Russian court.