This summer, Russian president Vladimir Putin signed a nationwide anti-gay legislation that holds LGBT Russians hostage. Moreover, the bill has reinforced public sentiments of hate and has resulted in a rise in attacks on LGBT people.
And with the Olympics just around the corner, we (that means YOU too) want to do something to stand with LGBT Russians. But what can we do?
Recently, JersVision.org (Canada’s LGBTQ-A* Youth Org) was contacted by LGBT Russians, Sochi 2014 Olympians, and many community activists who created a campaign. The campaign listens to the needs of LGBT people in Russia and Olympic athletes.
The campaign is called: Open the Door to LGBT Rights in Russia shares what LGBT Russians want YOU to do to support them.
Here’s What You Can Do to Help:
(3) Tell your government to SPEAK UP. Russian Activists want you to contact you local federal politicians and ambassadors to put pressure on Russian Government. Not an easy task eh? No, it is not, but it is important and Russian LGBT activists find it to be effective. Boycotting vodka or the Olympics won’t have an effect, but this will. If you need help finding your local politician, email us (Info@JersVision.org) and we will help.
(4) Send a message to president Vladimir Putin. You can do this by writing a letter to the President. Emails get deleted and he doesn’t check his Facebook. This might seem old-fashioned and time consuming, but YOU want to make a difference, right?
President Vladimir Putin
23, Ilyinka Street,
Moscow, 103132, Russia
(5) Wear the button. From now till the end of the Sochi 2014 Olympics show the world you stand with LGBT Russians by wearing this button. You can get it here.
(6) Make a donation.
Because it is illegal, being an LGBT Russian activist is dangerous and expensive. Many face legal fees, medical bills, and ongoing supply costs. Russian Activists hope this campaign will raise $5000. Make your donation online here.
(7) Tell Sochi 2014 Sponsor what you think. Tell the Sochil 2014 sponsors that you recognize that funding the Olympics also oppresses LGBT Russians disagree. Money talks. Boycott them, and encourage them to move their support to better causes. You can find a list of all the sponsors and their mailing/email addresses here.
Fast Facts About The Worsening Situation in Russia:
(Trigger Warning: Contains brief descriptions of violence and injustice.)
- In July, Putin banned the adoption of Russian-born children by gay couples or by any family or single parent from a country where marriage equality exists
- Also in July, Putin has legally allowed police officers to detain tourists or foreign nationals that they suspect of being homosexual or “pro-gay” and to detain them for up to 2 weeks
- In June, Putin classified “homosexual propaganda” as pornography, i.e. any adult, teacher, parent, judge, or lawmaker that publicly argues for tolerance for homosexuality where it’s accessible to underage youth is subject to arrest and fines
- In May and June, bodies of gay men have been found stabbed, trampled, sodomized by bottles and set on fire.
- In January, 10 gay activists were beaten to death in a mob during a demonstration.
- In ongoing protests, gay and queer activists are being beaten by police and citizens, with photos widely circulated in social media
- Also being circulated in social media is a video of a Russian teen being tortured by a Neo-Nazi gang who suspects the teen of being gay at a St. Petersburg gay rights rally in June
Quick Facts About this campaign:
- What is JersVision.org involvement in the campaign?
- JersVision.org is a member of the committee Open the Door to LGBT Rights in Russia. As a registered charity we have been assigned to organize and manage the logistics of the campaign.
- Where does the money go?
- The money from the posters & buttons pays for the production and shipping. We are not making a profit.
- Every penny donated goes to LGBT Russian activists through Equality Russia & St Petersburg Pride, the 2 leading LGBT Organizations in Russian. JersVision.org is not keeping any funds and JersVision.org will pay processing and transfer fees.
- Why are YOU doing this?
- Although a small Canadian organization, we have been involved in the national and international LGBT politics for some time. We have followed this matter closely and were asked by our partners in Russia and Olympic athletes affiliated with us to join the committee and organize this campaign.
- How can I trust this campaign? How do I know it is not a scam?
- JersVision.org has an international reputation, being nominated for a Teen Choice /Do Something Award, and being recognized by a number of local, national, and international awards and nominations. We are supported by a number of celebrities and politicians. Check us out here.
- As an organization, business or media, how can I be a partner of this campaign?
- The Committee has no maximum spots and we welcome any organization, business & media that wants to be a part of the campaign. If you can help us get the word out, feature an ad, or write an article, you are welcome to be a part! Email Info@JersVision.org for details
- Who else is doing stuff?
- Principle 6
Athlete Ally, an organization that brings together athletes who support the fight against homophobia in sport, launched the clothing line Principle 6, in collaboration with American Apparel and All Out to fight for equality in Russi.
- Same sex hand holding initiative (SSHHI)
The Same-Sex Hand-Holding Initiative is a campaign to ask everyone present at the 2014 Sochi Olympic and Paralympic Games to take every opportunity to hold hands in public with a person of the same sex, to take a picture of that moment and submit it to the SSHHI website. The campaign wants to denounce the anti-gay laws in Russia and call the IOC to action to end discrimination in sport.
- #LoveAlwaysWins (AllOut)
AllOut published a moving video to denounce the anti-gay law adopted by Russia! View the video »
The same organization funded massive billboards on wheels to circle Coca-Cola HQ. Their message: “Coca-Cola, speak out now.” Photo and petition »
- Love Conquers Hate (Human Rights Campaign)
This campaign offers “Love Conquers Hate” t-shirts in English, Russian and Spanish!
- Campaign « Open your mouth » (Germany)
This German campaign wishes to raise awareness in Germany of the serious human rights abuses taking place in Russia. It demands that the German government takes a clear stance in this matter and does all it can to ensure this law is abolished. It also appeals to all sponsors of the Winter Olympics to use their financial clout in defence of human rights in Russia. Promotional material : video, Facebook page.
- From Russia with Love (Russia)
Photographer Anastasia Ivanova packed her camera and travelled to Russia to meet the gay couples who, under Putin’s controversial presidency, face an uncertain future at home.
- Sochi 214 (Canada)
This campaign launched by Fondation Emergence offers ideas to support LGBT rights in Russia.
- I still have questions, what do I do?
- If you have a question or are a reporter, simply email Info@JersVision.org. We will do our best to get back to you soon.