Despite Russian President Vladimir Putin's arguments that the nation's anti-gay propaganda laws are not an attack on homosexuals, gay parents and their children in the country would beg to differ.
17-year-old Kristina Kochetova, a daughter of lesbian parents explains in a Bloomberg report:
The 17-year-old grew up knowing her parents were unusual. Now she worries they might be considered criminals.
“Technically, my mothers are breaking the law by propagating their relationship to me,” Kochetkova said in a telephone interview. “It’s sad and incredibly unfair.”
As the school year starts, same-sex parents are grappling with how honest to be with teachers and classmates. The law Putin signed June 30 puts gays and lesbians with children at particular risk, said human rights activist Lyudmila Alexeyeva, head of the Moscow Helsinki Group.
“It’s a cruel measure against those children,” she said. “Their parents are scared and teaching them to hide and lie.”
In the year since St. Petersburg’s propaganda law went into effect, Sasha Semenova, 30, said she and her partner have grown increasingly wary. They’re raising her 8-year-old son in the city of about 5 million, and warned him before he started second grade this week to avoid mentioning his parents are women.
“I get jumpy when my son tells strangers that he has two mommies,” Semenova said in an e-mail. “It’s dangerous because I don’t know who may be listening.”
Semenova, who heads the parents network at Coming Out, a nonprofit in St. Petersburg, estimates there are only several dozen same-sex couples with children in the city. She said she feels more like a minority every day.
“We face a constant threat on the streets, at school,” she said. “That law has changed a lot in our life.”
The reach of these anti-gay propaganda laws extend directly into these families' homes and affect the daily lives of both the children and their parents as soon as they leave the house.
A child being taught to lie about their parentage out of fear that their parents could be fined or arrested? Apparently that's Russia in 2013.
We hope President Obama makes that one of his talking points during his visit with President Putin in St. Petersburg at the G20 summit.
Coming Out, the LGBT non-profit group mentioned above, has been invited to meet with President Obama on Sept. 5.