Founder of Russian LGBT Youth Site Fined Under 'Propaganda' Law

by Jason St. Amand

National News Editor

Monday August 3, 2015

The founder of a Russian LGBT youth website and community was fined 50,000 roubles ($850 USD) under the country's controversial "homosexual propaganda" law, the Guardian reports.

A court in Nizhny Tagil found Elena Klimova guilty of spreading "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations among minors" for her website Deti-404 (Children-404), which has pages on Facebook and on the popular Russian social media website VK.com. Klimova, who created the site in spring 2013, plans on appealing the ruling, however.

The Guardian writes Deti-404 is one of the few spaces for Russian youth to discuss LGBT issues in a safe place, as many adults do not support same-sex marriage and the LGBT community.

"Nearly every day, young people write in with stories and photographs - with their faces and names often hidden - describing the harassment, beatings and confusion they suffer due to their sexuality," the Guardian writes.

This isn't the first time the website has come under fire. A court in St. Petersburg found Deti-404 guilty of gay propaganda in March, ruling that its VK.com page be blacklisted. The court said it would have the state communications watchdog block the page, but the Guardian notes the site is still accessible. Klimova said she will appeal this ruling as well.

Activists have been fined under the anti-gay measure, which Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law in 2013. LGBT rights activists say the law allows the discrimination of LGBT people and has increased violence against LGBT people, especially teens.

In April Klimova created a photo album on social media called "Beautiful People and What They Say to Me" where she took users' profile pictures and paired them next to the awful and violent messages they sent to her.

"Go and fucking kill yourself before they come for you," wrote a woman pictured smiling with a bouquet of roses in her profile picture. "Gunning you down, you little bitch, is just the beginning of what you deserve," wrote a man pictured alongside a baby goat.

This is the latest crackdown on "homosexual propaganda." Last month, it was reported Russia may ban people from using the gay-friendly emojis on social media.

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