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Russia’s “Gay Propaganda” Law Imperils LGBT Youth | HRW

The Russian authorities have abjectly failed to take effective action in response to the violent persecution of gay men in Chechnya, Amnesty International said one year after a series of homophobic crimes in the southern republic were exposed. However, to date, not one person has to be held to account for these crimes.

The tireless work of human rights defenders, including from the Russian LGBT Network, has resulted in people being safely relocated from Chechnya, 98 of whom have left Russia. We have ensured the safety of victims and collected and publicized their testimonies. But one thing we could not do is launch an investigation and ensure criminal prosecution of the perpetrators. The Russian authorities, apparently, do not want to do this. Amnesty International reiterates its call on the Russian authorities to promptly and effectively investigate the reports of abduction, secret detention, torture and killing of men believed to be gay in the Chechen Republic.

News Russian Federation Torture and other ill-treatment. We have witnessed a shocking display of denial, evasion and inaction by the authorities, who have repeatedly refused to launch an official investigation into the reported heinous crimes. Russian Federation: Men suspected gay abducted, trotured or killed Russia: Persecuted for defending human rights.

Recently Added News Sudan: Due to the repressive legal and social climate, LGBT youth in Russia often feel isolated from their peers at school. Many of the students we spoke with told us that they knew nobody else who was gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. Russian schools are hostile environments for LGBT students. While staff were supportive in some cases, in others, teachers specifically targeted LGBT students for abuse. Some students felt sufficiently confident in themselves to express their sexual orientation or gender identity but received negative reactions from adults.

In many cases, those who asked school staff about LGBT topics received ignorant or prejudiced responses from teachers that caused the students to think of their identities as pathological or problematic—exacerbating the fear and isolation they already felt. Tanya K. Some teachers equated being LGBT with having a disability. Nora T. Other teachers stated that LGBT people did not deserve to live, sometimes using words that could be taken as encouraging violence. Irina L. Vera Y. Vasily A. They say people in the West are stupified by their tolerance. Raisa N.

Describing her literature class when she was in the 9 th grade, Yana T. In some cases, our interviewees told us teachers singled students out for criticism, telling them that their clothing, hairstyle, or mannerisms marked them as being gay, lesbian, or transgender, or simply abnormal.

For instance, Vlad A.

Raised by ISIS, Returned to Chechnya: ‘These Children Saw Terrible Things’

Other school staff also criticized students for their appearance. Some teachers and other staff targeted students who were known to be LGBT with hateful comments. Pyotr E. Petersburg, told us: Eventually, however, she dropped her threat.

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Psychologists described similar accounts of verbal abuse and harassment by teachers. In one such case:. Speaking of a discussion on same-sex marriage in her history class, Veronika A. In one such case, year-old Alina P. Some other students told us that their teachers intervened to stop bullying and harassment by classmates.

For example, Kirill G. His teacher stepped in, he said. So, she just threatened them with repercussions and reined them in. She did not speak directly on this topic with me either.

Q&A: Gay rights in Russia

They absolutely didn't care. They just asked for silence in the classroom. Other LGBT students described similar reactions from their teachers when they were harassed or bullied. Aleksey M..

They were openly hostile or indifferent. In addition to bullying and harassment, LGBT students encounter various forms of discrimination in schools that make educational environments hostile or unwelcoming. Transgender students face specific challenges when it comes to dress and self-expression. For example, some transgender students Human Rights Watch interviewed had experienced rigorous policing of how they dressed and expressed their gender at school.

Such restrictions are particularly damaging and humiliating for transgender youth, as wearing gender-affirming clothing is an important part of social transition. I simply cannot tell the others because I want people to hang out with me, I don't want to be a pariah. Transgender students are usually not able to use bathrooms that correspond to their gender identity, an additional humiliation.

And transgender students who ask teachers to address them using the gender that matches their identity told us most of their teachers did not do so.

It has never happened. LGBT youth told Human Rights Watch their classmates often repeated the sterotypes, misinformation, and hostility pervasive in Russian media. For some, peers were a source of relative support and openness—compared with the responses of parents and teachers on issues of sexual orientation and gender identity. Others, however, faced harassment, bullying, and discrimination at the hands of their classmates. Teachers rarely intervened when they observed such abuse, LGBT students told us, adding that the indifference they observed from most teachers dissuaded them from complaining about it.

Nevertheless, some students explained that their friends and classmates were supportive. For example, year-old Mikhail S. And I know about their sexual orientation too. I am really lucky to have such friends and environment. Of course, there are those who sometimes bully her, shout bad things at her. But she's a very positive person, and she does not pay attention to them. Others described how context determines the social attitudes they experience. Veronika A. There were moderate homophobes, there were some gay-friendly people, but in general the attitude was calm.

After the video was posted online, a group of her classmates started to harass her. David O. Some LGBT students experienced outright hostility from their classmates. Others reported that they were teased and harassed, said that their classmates described them as sick or pitiful, or overheard anti-LGBT comments that led them to conceal their identities and live in fear of attack. I have been overlooked for a long time. Describing her school environment, she said:. We didn't have any visible LGBT persons at school [other than me], but the attitude was clear.

Then they began to joke about me. Mostly, these were insults, but sort of subtle insults.

To the President of the Russian Federation

Some students hear comments from classmates suggesting that LGBT people should be killed. As noted above, some teachers fail to protect LGBT students from harassment and violence, and in some cases even foster it. Kristina Z.


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Over time, despite the deluge of misinformation from the government, families, teachers, and the internet, Russian LGBT youth interviewed by Human Rights Watch found ways to protect themselves. For example, Lev M. I always wear a large black hoodie, so that way I turn into a guy for people around me. But when they shout something after me, I just go away quickly, hiding on the stairs. Many of the students Human Rights Watch interviewed said they avoided disclosing their sexual orientation or gender identity if possible. Alina P.

To avoid the same treatment, she has told only a few people that she is attracted to girls. This cannot happen at all.