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In a recent interview with the publication ShortList, former Olympic diver Tom Daley revealed that his husband, screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, has been banned from Russia, stating, “My husband is blacklisted from Russia. He did a big protest there with a massive rainbow flag, and after he screened his film Milk, he started getting threats and attacks. So he’s not allowed back.” It’s unclear if Daley is correct and Russia banned Dustin Lance Black officially or Daley just assumes that Black is banned based on his protest.
Since the ShortList interview leaves the exact timeline of events unclear, here’s what we’ve figured out:
In 2013, Russia passed it infamous national law banning any public displays of “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships.” The law caused a massive outcry as Russia began to crackdown on LGBTQ activism online and off.
On Nov. 30 of that same year, Black travelled to Russia with Van Sant and Milk‘s producer Bruce Cohen to screen Milk at the Side by Side LGBT Film Festival in Saint Petersburg. After the screening, he displayed a 20-yard-long rainbow banner that said “Support Russian Gays!”
The banner was hand-sewn by Gilbert Baker, creator of the original 1976 rainbow Pride flag. Black presented it as a gift to the film festival’s organizers. The film festival itself had been delayed by legal challenges under Russia’s gay propaganda law and its opening ceremonies were delayed because of bomb threats.
Black married Daley on May 6, 2017. And while Daley claims that Russia banned Dustin Lance Black, it’s unclear whether Daley or Black ever received any official notification from the Russian, British or American government or whether Daley is making an assumption that his husband is no longer allowed following his 2013 protest.