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20 Feb, 2024 18:19

‘Don’t touch the kids,’ Putin tells gays

Adults can live and let live, but children are off limits, the president warned
‘Don’t touch the kids,’ Putin tells gays

Russia is actually tolerant of people with non-traditional sexual orientations, so long as they don’t target children or flaunt their preferences, President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday.

The president made the remarks while addressing visitors to the ‘Strong Ideas for a New Time’ forum, a yearly event organized by Russia’s state-backed Agency of Strategic Initiatives.

“We are quite tolerant towards people with non-traditional sexual orientations. We just don’t flaunt it, and we don’t believe it’s right to flaunt it. Let everyone live – the adults – as they want. Nobody limits them in anything,” Putin stated, explaining that, basically, there are only a handful of rules which limit the LGBTQ community in the country.

As for children, I have already said many times: ‘Don’t touch the children.’ That’s it. This is the first one. And the second one is, we are, first and foremost, a state that is guided by traditional values.

Over the past few years, Russia has gradually tightened its legislation aimed at countering the spread of what it calls “LGBT ideology.” The drive began in 2013, when the dissemination of said propaganda was outlawed among minors.

The ban was reinforced in December 2022, when new legislation introduced major fines for anyone found guilty of promoting “non-traditional sexual relations,” pedophilia, and transgenderism among minors and adults alike.

Late last year, the Supreme Court of Russia outlawed the “international LGBT public movement,” designating it as extremist. The ban stemmed from a lawsuit filed by the Russian Justice Ministry, which asked the top court to do so, arguing that the movement has been involved in “incitements of social and religious discord” as well as exhibiting unspecified “extremist traits.”

The extremist designation has been harshly criticized by multiple rights groups in the West, which have argued that it is “absurd” and vague, and that it has had a “catastrophic” effect on the LGBTQ community in Russia. The inclusion of any group in Russia’s “extremist organizations” list effectively bans all of their activities and outlaws all of their associated symbols.

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