By Todd Swindell and Michael Petrelis
One of our Russian LGBT friends, Andrew Obolensky, emailed us recently with news about Russian Orthodox Christians harassing his advocacy group, The Rainbow Association, on October 10th. The good news is that no gays were seriously harmed and a lecture took place in spite of the harassment, but the bad news is anti-gay forces acted with impunity and no repercussions from the police.
He's requested that we share this information:
"This Friday a group of homophobes attacked the Sakharov Center in Moscow and beset it for more than 2 hours. Their goal was to disrupt the event organized by the local LGBT community, dedicated to the International Coming Out Day and attended by more than 50 people.
"On October 10, Sakharov Center, which promotes human rights for all Russians, was hosting an annual interactive meeting titled 'Be Open – And Your World Will Get Broader'.
"Soon after the beginning several dozens of aggressive religious homophobes headed by Dmitry Enteo, alias Dmitry Tsorionov, showed up. They brought the posters and Orthodox icons and started to scream hateful slogans, trying break into the building. They started to throw eggs at the participants who were on their way to the event, threatening physical violence. Meanwhile, the homophobes were giving interviews to the media claiming that the organizers of the meeting are molesting children at this meeting.
"After half an hour, a police squad arrived. They inquired, what are the goals of the event, who allowed this event to be held, and if this event violates the 'gay propaganda' law. The police did not allow anyone from leaving the building unless the participants who their documents in order to prove there was no minors present at the venue.
"This controversial behaviour of police was appreciated by the leader of the homophobic attackers Enteo who on his Twitter account welcomed the cooperation between the police and the Orthodox activists.
"The crucial thing is that despite the attack and the violations on the part of police (some media quoted police saying that the behaviour of the homophobes was peaceful'), the annual interactive meeting was a success. The organizers received very positive feedback from the participants. And thanks to the efforts of the staff of the Sakharov Center and the LGBT activists, homophobes did not make it inside of the building and nobody was hurt."
As you well know, Michael has long been active as a global organizer for gay human rights and while the troubles of our friends in Moscow in recent days aren't an issue in the District 8 Supervisor race, we feel it's important to give attention to this incident on Friday.
The #VotePetrelis team salutes the bravery of our LGBT friends who every day take steps that demand protection of their human rights and show the world that gay Russians are out, loud and proud!
The attackers gathering outside the LGBT meeting.
LGBT Russians and allies conducted their lecture inside the center as planned.
Remnants of eggs that hit a gay leader are visible on his head and jacket.