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Russian LGBT Network in court as Saint Petersburg prosecutors demand its Facebook page be blocked for 'negative impact' on kids

Russian LGBT Network in court as Saint Petersburg prosecutors demand its Facebook page be blocked for 'negative impact' on kids
Prosecutors in Russia have demanded that Facebook block the page of the Russian LGBT Network, with the authorities alleging that it harms the development and health of minors. The profile is followed by over 5,000 people.

The initial complaint was filed by MP Igor Sapko, the former mayor of Perm and a representative of the ruling United Russia party, who said that “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships is becoming mainstream on many Internet platforms.”

According to the prosecutors, the group creates “an attractive image of homosexuality, leading to the involvement of citizens, especially teenagers, in destructive lifestyles.”

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“The materials on the page may have a negative impact on the development of children, provoking an unhealthy interest [in LGBT culture], instilling LGBT values, and involving minors in the LGBT community,” said the press service of a Saint Petersburg court, the city where the group is based.

According to Alexander Belik, a lawyer for the Russian LGBT Network, this is not the first time Saint Petersburg prosecutors have tried to block the organization’s pages.

“It started in 2019 when they targeted a group on [Russian social network] VKontakte,” Belik explained. “Two times they tried to do something with our website. Now they have switched to Facebook.”

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The LGBT Network is run by the ‘Sphere’ charity fund, which is deemed by Russia’s Ministry of Justice to be a foreign agent. Founded in 2006, the group seeks to promote LGBT rights inside the country and aspires “to a society in which discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or sex variances does not exist.”

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