Investigators used Russia’s ‘gay propaganda’ law to remove the boys from their home.
A trip to the emergency room soon turned into a nightmare for two dads, who have been separated from their adopted children after authorities ordered them to be taken away from them. Lawyers for the men have described their situation as ‘terrifying’ as Russian authorities try to seperate them from their children.
On 19 June 2019, two men brought one of their sons to a Moscow hospital to treat a suspected case of appendicitis. The men remain unnamed for their own safety.
But the doctor found out the boy had two dads and immediately reported them to the Investigative Committee of Russia. The Committee went on to sue the social workers who approved the children’s adoption for ‘negligence’. It also ordered authorities remove the boys from their family home.
In July, things got worse. Authorities from the Committee tried multiple times to search the dads’ apartment and those of their immediate family. Eventually, investigators broke down the doors of the men and one of their brothers. They also interrogated one of their fathers for more than three hours.
Gay propaganda. The Committee decided the adoption contravened Russia’s controversial ‘gay propaganda’ law. Introduced in the 2013, the law forbids the positive representation of LGBTI people in media. The government argued the law stopped the ‘promotion of nontraditional sexual relations to minors’.
The dads and their modern family. One of the men in the relationship legally adopted the two boys now aged 12 and 14 in 2010. Same-sex couples are not allowed to adopt children in Russia, but single people are.
According to their lawyers, the adoption agency in Lyublino carried out regular visits to the home from 2010 to 2019. The agency reported the men looked after the boys very well.
The neighbors of the couple were present during the search. They gave comments to the media, in which they said only good things about the family.
According to them, they did not notice any signs of trouble, the children grew up in an intelligent and calm atmosphere, and the parents took care of the children.
After the adoption of the so-called ‘gay propaganda’ law in 2013 on the federal level, it became apparent that this law was going to be a tool of oppression of the LGBTI community.
The only thing LGBTI people can do to be completely safe is to stay invisible, hide their SOGIE (sexual orientation and gender identity), lie in their social environment.
It also became clear that same-sex families with children were going to be the most vulnerable group under this law, because under this law, you are ‘doing propaganda’ every day just by being a family.
We were all scared for families with adopted children, because it would be so easy to annul adoptions and break up families.
This precedent will also pose a huge threat to all existing same-sex families, driving them further underground.
These trends will cause huge harm, first and foremost to the children, who otherwise could have loving and supportive families.
The world faces a large number of challenges and threats: poverty, violence, violation of human rights. It undermines international peace and security, social foundations, creates obstacles for development, divides people and societies. To successfully counter these challenges and threats, it is necessary to eradicate their causes. This can be achieved through solidarity, which can be expressed in many forms. First of all it is friendship, it makes us closer. Together we can achieve harmony, create normal conditions for the existence of all people seeking to make the world a better place.
The ideological basis for the new date was the Declaration and Program of Action on a Culture of Peace and the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence in the interests of the entire planet (it covered the years 2001-2010).
The UN invited government agencies, as well as international and regional organizations to celebrate this day in accordance with the cultural traditions of a country and organize events and initiatives that will contribute to the efforts of the international community and will be aimed at promoting dialogue among civilizations, solidarity, mutual understanding and reconciliation.
The resolution particularly emphasizes the importance of a new date in strengthening friendly relations between different nations. “Friendship between nations, countries, cultures and individuals can inspire peace efforts and provide an opportunity to build bridges between societies that honor cultural diversity,” the document says.
In addition, one of the objectives of the International Day of Friendship is to attract young people, including future leaders, to social activities aimed at respectful perception of different cultures.
Currently, in many countries of the world, events are held annually related to the promotion of friendship and tolerance towards others. Today, a list of Friendship Day programs is added to their list.
A same-sex couple from Moscow, which has become the object of attention of law enforcement agencies because of the education of two adopted boys, may not return to Russia. This was announced by lawyer Maxim Olenichev.
“They are currently on holiday abroad until the end of summer. They are following the developments now and by the end of the holidays they will decide whether they should return or not, ”he said.
The couple went on vacation with their children, the Moscow LGBT Stimulus group reported earlier.
In mid-July, the investigative committee opened a criminal case of negligence against employees of social welfare agencies due to the fact that the adopted boys are in the care of two men in Moscow. The Investigative Committee claims that they “promote non-traditional relations” and harm the “moral and spiritual development” of children.
On July 19, it became known that searches were conducted both at home and in the vicinity of the couple. The father of one of the men was summoned to the investigative committee for questioning.
In New York, they are preparing to host the WorldPride anniversary parade. On June 28, 1969, the police raided the Manhattan gay club “Stonewall”: this event marked the beginning of a major struggle of sex minorities for their rights. How common homophobic attitudes among Americans are now and how the lives of homosexuals have changed over the past decades, correspondent RTVI Harry Knjagnitsky.
Anton and Arsen Low met and married in New York. There is no need to hide from anyone, be silent, hide and conceal your feelings.
Arsen Lowe: “When I lived in Russia, I worked there, there was a feeling of inner homophobia, there were inner fears”.
They traveled almost all of America, and it was not that in all American states they managed without slanting glances in their direction, but did not reach obvious reproaches or threats.
Anton Low: “Maybe there were places in which I could not feel so comfortable, but there was no homophobia or anything else.”
Nowadays, in front of the gay community in America, the green street is formally open. Although why green? It is traditionally painted in all colors of the rainbow: choose yourself any way. But even 50 years ago, in all US states, with the exception of Illinois, homosexuality was a criminal offense.
If you’re lucky, they will be sent to a hospital: gays in America in the 60s were officially considered mentally ill, says Alexei Gorshkov to tourists. The human rights activist conducts free tours of Greenwich Village. Today this area is called Hipster, and in the late 60s it was called “the cloaca inhabited by sodomites.”
Alexey Gorshkov, a human rights activist: “In the 60s, the authorities of the State of New York banned the sale of alcohol to gays because they violate public morality.”
The police monitored morality: they organized raids in bars where homosexuals gathered. With the current gay clubs such places had nothing to do. These were semi-underground institutions, they were kept by the mafia, which was bought off from the police by bribes. The most famous bar was considered “Stonevoll-Inn.”
On the night of June 28, 1969, a seemingly ordinary raid with shouts on duty was staged here: “No one should move! Police! All to the wall! What rags are you wearing? ” But then people tired of bullying burst.
Some say that the first to the police threw either a coin, or a bottle, or a transsexual stone, Sylvia Riviera. Others claim it was Marsha Johnson.
Alexey Gorshkov, human rights activist: “The police, only 10 people, simply did not know what to do. People united. It was not the rebellion of one person, it was a massive outburst of rage. People rose up against police brutality. The policemen barricaded themselves in the club because the crowd had driven them inside. People started turning over police cars. ”
So in America, the gay revolution began. Cohesive LGBT organizations began to appear. In 1973, homosexuality was excluded from the list of mental illnesses. Really gay in the United States took in the 90s. In 2015, same-sex marriages were legalized throughout the country, and in 2019 the police finally apologized for Stonewall.
James O’Neill, New York City Police Commissioner: “I know for sure: what happened did not happen. New York Police took the wrong steps, rash. Acts and laws were discriminatory and cruel. And for that, I apologize. ”
Now the police are here, as in the guard of honor. Inside, in memory of the hot summer of 1969, photographs are exhibited, and Greenwich Village is buried in a rainbow. She’s on flags, banners, clothes.
In 2011, when New York became the sixth state to legalize same-sex marriages, Patrick was attacked in Queens. At Greenwich Village, everyone knows him.
Patrick: “That guy sneaked behind me and started beating me. What happened next, I do not really remember. When I woke up in the hospital, my skull was broken and my nose was broken, my legs were broken. I feel better now. ”
Mihkel Dikus, too, almost killed a few years ago. He says that a stranger sat down at the bar with him, started a heart-to-heart conversation, drank, and went to Mihkel’s house.
Mihkel Dikus: “He began to choke me. I could not move, began to choke and lose consciousness. I thought it was the end. But then he let me go and demanded money. ”
The euphoria of being alive quickly changed to post-traumatic syndrome. Mihkel thought that the attacker was tracking him down; for six years he went to a psychotherapist. Now helps other victims of attacks.
Mihkel Dikus: “Those who feel like a victim fall victim again if they do not receive the help they need. And some of them are beginning to look for a victim in order to recoup someone, to cause harm. So this circle closes. I tore it for myself. ”
Mihkel believes that it is necessary to talk about this, and not to make magnificent gay parades, which, with all the external effect, have become completely empty meaningfully. The “Stonewall” began as a rebellion, as another bright episode of the struggle for human rights in America. And today this is just a reason to arrange a carnival. This is sure Anthony Dolsey.
Anthony Dolsey : “Everything began to look like solid commerce. Politicians and celebrities come to us to shine in front of television cameras. But when real help is needed, they do nothing. As soon as the parade ends, they disappear.And we need them every day. We need them to talk about gay violence. This violence needs to stop. ”
But people who come to Pride parades think differently. For the LGBT community, these processions are a real triumph of freedom and a demonstration of simple truth: every tenth person on earth is born gay. Yesterday, most of them were hiding. These feathers, makeup and smiles were very difficult for everyone.
For a break in the consciousness and perception of the world, the most important thing, according to psychologists, is to see thousands, hundreds of thousands of people like you who have ceased to be afraid. However, it is also true that the parades pass, but the rejection in one degree or another remains.
Columbia University professor Paul Martin is sure: the problem is that society simply does not have time to digest the changes. From a prison term for homosexuality to legal same-sex marriage, it took only half a century.
Paul Martin, a professor at Columbia University: “One of the global shifts in public consciousness has happened. And gradually the idea of adopting children by gay couples got involved here. Once it was terrifying, but now it has become a routine. Not in every state, but at the national level it happened. ”
Happened, but not all. In the US, there is still no federal law on the inadmissibility of discrimination of LGBT people. In this too different country, where some idolize the Constitution, and others the Bible, approaching any of the poles, liberal or conservative, provokes a response. In the worst manifestations – violence, in the best – accurate political correct ignoring.
Elena : “The main thing is that this does not concern children, that’s all. Just if they do something there, let them do it in their gated community. If my son says that he is like this, I will never stop loving him. But with all of this, I would like it not to concern children a little now. ”
Arsen Low’s parents for seven years could not accept the idea that he was gay. But in the end he was accepted as he is. Anton did not begin to devote all his loved ones to his personal life.
Anton Lowe: “My grandmother is a religious Muslim. They have a lot of problems with that. ”
And here they have no problems, consider Arsen with Anton. New York is probably one of the most friendly cities in the world in relation to gays. Absolutely safe? Hardly. Ask Patrick, who spent three months in a coma and did not learn to walk in the eight years since the beating.
Patrick: “He said that when he gets out of prison, he will kill me.”
Patrick says he is not afraid. A sign is attached to his walker: “My spirit is wounded, but not broken.”