This post is also available in: French
Editor’s note: The links in this story all lead to Russian-language websites.
Now that Russia has established laws banning pro-gay propaganda — which is exactly what you’re reading right now, comrades — one Russian mayor has taken the extra step of declaring his town “a gay free zone,” a preposterous claim that immediately attracted gay activists to his town. We gays love discovering new places.
Earlier this month, Sergey Davydov, mayor of Svetogorsk — a small industrial town on the Russia-Finland border — declared his area as “free of gays.” It’s unclear how he tested the heterosexuality of each of his town’s 15,981 citizens, but it’s more likely that he intended his brainless declaration to bolster his own homophobic nationalist cred.
In response to his statement, seven LGBTQ activists from St. Petersburg representing the Alliance for Heterosexuals and LGBT Equality (AHLE) visited his city to speak with him. AHLE leader Aleksei Nazarov, who did not accompany the group, reportedly joked that they wanted the mayor to help organize gay tourism and a pride parade.
There’s two differing reports on what happened next: One version states that border agents stopped the activists’ bus and, after seeing that they lacked special documentation to enter the region, detained two activists named Kanakova Boris and Andrey Potapov. One of the guards reportedly asked Potapov, “Are you headed for the kindergarten?” in a crude suggestion of pedophilia.
A second weirder version states that the activists were reportedly detained after visiting a store that sold penis-shaped lollipops. The shop owners disliked the activists videotaping within the store and shoved them in a utility closet. Someone called the police. We translated all this from a Russian website, so it’s all quite confusing.
After learning of their capture, the mayor reportedly “promised that gays will not go, and then, will not pass”, kinda like an anti-gay Gandalf.
Either way, the other four were allowed in but later detained by the FSB (Russia’s Federal Security Service). The activists have been charged with “violating the border regime” and may receive a warning before being deported from the region, though it’s unclear whether any will face any further legal penalties.
(Featured composite image via Towleroad)