Russian lawmaker tells Stephen Fry: ‘Gay teens pretend to be bullied’

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As part of a documentary on gay rights Stephen Fry travelled to Russia this week to interview the author of St Petersburg’s notorious anti-gay propaganda bill, who told him gay teenagers do not face bullying for their sexuality.

Stephen Fry arrived in Russia on Tuesday to film footage for “Out There”, a two-part documentary on the life of gay people around the world.

He Tweeted about the experience, revealing that he had spoken to young gay Russians about the homophobia they experienced in their socially conservative country and expressing his fears that life for them could become worse:

He then interviewed Vitaly Milonov, the author of St Petersburg’s anti-“homosexual propaganda” bill which imposes heavy sanctions on anyone seen as publicly promoting homosexuality to minors.

After the interview Fry Tweeted that he and Mr Milonov had been “going at it hammer and tongs”, and said their debate had included topics such as the bullying of LGBT youth.

Mr Milonov did not believe LGBT teens were tormented for their identity and claimed that teens pretended to be bullied in order to “indoctrinate” other youth.

He also claimed that liberalism had “destroyed” Britain by promoting gay rights.

After the interview Fry became concerned that he might have “created an international incident by looking at pic of Putin & observing to the press that he looks like Dobby the House Elf [of the Harry Potter fame].”

On Thursday Fry left Russia, commenting: “I shall always love Russia and hope that its youth will not allow the toxic mix of nationalism and religious zealotry to destroy her.”

The anti-gay propaganda law in St Petersburg may soon be implemented nationally, with the State Duma having voted in favour of the motion 388-1 at its first reading in January. It will return for a second vote later this year.

The bill has received international condemnation, prompting Russia’ Foreign Minister to defend it.

He said the bill would protect the majority of Russians from “a kind of discrimination when one group of citizens gets the right to aggressively promote their own values”.

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