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14 Oct, 2020 21:06

Parents of LGBT children must defend them: ‘Homophobia has never led any state to a happy future,’ says MP from pro-Putin party

Parents of LGBT children must defend them: ‘Homophobia has never led any state to a happy future,’ says MP from pro-Putin party

Russian politician and former TV host Oksana Pushkina, one of the most progressive MPs in the country, believes that children coming out to their parents is the “highest degree of trust” and they should be protected at all costs.

Pushkina, a member of the pro-Putin 'United Russia' party, was speaking to the liberal Moscow newspaper Novaya Gazeta on the occasion of ‘Coming Out Week,’ a celebration of the LGBT+ community being open about who they are. In comparison to Western Europe, Russia is known to be very conservative when it comes to LGBT rights, but Pushkina wants to change that.

“If we talk about state policy, I am convinced that it needs to be adjusted,” she said. “Conservatism, fundamentalism, and homophobia have never led any state to a happy future.”

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As things stand, Russia's legal stance on homosexuality is less liberal than most of the rest of Europe. The country doesn’t allow same-sex marriages or civil unions, and homosexual couples can't adopt a child, but a single person may adopt, regardless of orientation. In recent years, tolerance of LGBT people has increased, but authorities still have a strong resistance to 'gay pride' parades.

Internationally, Russia has been criticized for a federal ban on the distribution to citizens under 18 years of age of “propaganda” endorsing “non-traditional” relationships. However, in certain areas, Russia is far more progressive than some Western countries, such as allowing gay men to donate blood – something that is still illegal in the US. When it comes to trans rights, the ability to change one’s legal gender in Russia has been possible since 1997.

Addressing the parents of LGBT children, Pushkina noted that a child with the courage to come out to their mother and father must have a great degree of trust in their family.

“If suddenly, in a family, a child opens up to their mom or dad, the child must have been raised well,” Pushkina said. “You should fight for your child and bite the throat of everyone who tries to insult them. We need to protect our children, as it will help them to continue to protect themselves and those around them.”

Inside Russia’s parliament, Pushkina is known for her support of LGBT issues. Earlier this year, she revealed her opposition to the then-proposed amendments to the country’s ‘Family Code,’ which would ban same-sex couples from marrying or adopting children, calling the the laws “insane.” Aside from gay rights issues, Pushkina has also been to the forefront in the battle for women's rights and, as one of the authors of a new law on domestic violence, has received threats on social media.

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