Controversial Supreme Court Ruling Sparks Police Raids on Moscow Gay Bars

In a blitz that followed a “global LGBTQ+ movement” ban, Russian security forces raided gay clubs and bars in Moscow. Police searched venues like a nightclub, male sauna, and bar under the pretext of a drug raid. Clubgoers’ documents were checked and photographed by the officers. The raids ensued after the decision by Russia’s Supreme Court to label the LGBTQ+ movement as an extremist organization. The crackdown is part of a decade-long assault on LGBTQ+ rights under President Vladimir Putin emphasizing “traditional family values.” The ruling also led to the shutdown of LGBTQ+ venues, including St. Petersburg’s gay club Central Station. This effectively outlaws organized activity to defend the rights of LGBTQ+ people, according to a human rights lawyer.

The banning of “gay propaganda” and same-sex marriage were part of earlier legislation restricting LGBTQ+ rights. Amid accusations of LGBTQ+ discrimination, Russian authorities claim that “the rights of LGBT people in Russia are protected” legally. The new laws also prohibited gender transitioning procedures and gender-affirming care for transgender people. The uncertain fate of LGBTQ+ activists and symbols remains classified and unclear, causing many to consider leaving Russia. The ban and crackdown are seen by advocates as a way to shift focus from Russia’s other problems.


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