Petition launched to stop persecution of LGBT rights defenders in Russia

A petition on the online LGBT rights advocacy web site calls on the Russian government to cease legal actions against the Russian LGBT Network, the most prominent national organization advocating for LGBT rights in Russia.

The photo shows a group of people wrapped in LGBT+ flags. The text on the image is 'The Russian LGBT+ movement is at risk'
Organizers of the Russian LGBT Network fear that the Russian government will continue to try to shut the group down, as it has down to other human rights organizations. (Photo courtesy Russian LGBT Network)

The government had filed a suit against the organization, claiming that it spread “LGBT views” contrary to “traditional values.” The government sought to “liquidate” the Sphere Foundation, the legal entity that operates the Russian LGBT Network.

A court in St. Petersburg recently tossed the government’s case, but organizers fear that government will continue to find ways to try to shut the organization down.

“The Russian authorities are trying to shut down our organization,” says Natalia Soloviova, Сhair of the Board of the Russian LGBT Network in a statement on the petition web site. “They’re arguing that helping LGBT+ people is against traditional Russian values.”

Logo of the Russian LGBT Network

The Russian LGBT Network was formed in 2006 and includes 11 organizations across 13 regional offices. It aims to provide legal and psychological assistance to LGBT people, lend emergency assistance, and engage in monitoring and advocacy. In 2017, the Russian LGBT Network was instrumental in helping dozens of LGBT people flee violent persecution in Chechnya, one of Russia’s constituent republics.

The Russian government has been methodically shutting down opposition figures and human rights organizations. In December 2021, the government shut down Memorial, one of the oldest and most influential civil rights groups in the country.

The Russian LGBT Network is calling on supporters from around the world to sign the petition calling on the Russian government to cease all persecution of the organization.

Sign the petition here.

As of Feb. 18, it had been signed by 9,500 people.

Written by Rob Salerno

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