Russian police seize children's drawings of same-sex couples to investigate if they are 'gay propaganda'

Posters produced by school pupils to celebrate International Day of Tolerance confiscated under country's anti-gay laws

Chris Baynes
Thursday 29 November 2018 18:58
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Gay rights activists march in Russia, where 'gay propaganda' was outlawed in 2013
Gay rights activists march in Russia, where 'gay propaganda' was outlawed in 2013

Police in Russia have seized a number of children’s drawings to investigate whether they amount to “gay propaganda” under the country’s anti-LGBT laws.

Officers in Yekaterinburg, the country’s fourth-largest city, confiscated artwork featuring same-sex couples drawn by high school pupils to celebrate the International Day of Tolerance.

Police were inspecting 17 drawings to examine whether they “promoted homosexuality”, reported Russia’s Interfax news agency.

Officer were dispatched to seize the drawings after they featured on a government-supporting website, Ura.ru, in a story headlined: “Ural school holds poster contest with gay and lesbian images.”

The outlet reported that the pictures featured same-sex and heterosexual couples, as well as rainbows.

Pupils had written words promoting tolerance, such as: “We don’t choose our appearance, orientation, or race. We are all unique in our own ways.”

Yekaterinburg’s Department of Education said the drawings, by pupils at the city’s school number 115, reflected “friendship, respect, mutual understanding and acceptance of the values ​​and attitudes of other people”.

“There were no drawings promoting non-traditional values ​​at the exhibition,” it added in a statement.

Authorities reportedly sent psychologists into the school and ordered the teacher who organised the competition to complete “explanatory work”.

Local police officers were examining the drawings for “signs of gender discrimination and the promotion of homosexuality”.

“A procedural decision will be made on the basis of the inspection,” said a spokesman for Russia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs.

In 2013, Russia passed a bill outlawing the public display of what authorities described as “gay propaganda”.

Last year the European Court of Human Rights ruled the law “reinforced stigma and prejudice and encouraged homophobia”.

A 16-year-old boy became the first minor prosecuted under the law in August. He was fined 50,000 rubles (£580) by a court after allegedly posting images of “partly nude” men on social media.

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