Russia to block support group for gay teens

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Russia’s main support group for teenagers who identify as LGBT is to be blocked under the country’s ‘gay propaganda’ law.

The founders of Children-404 – the name of which references the country’s censorship of gay culture with reference to the ‘404 – Page not found’ internet error – aimed to provide a safe space for teenagers in the country to discuss LGBT issues and support each other.

However, the group fell foul of Russia’s anti-gay laws, and action was started last year against the group and founder Lena Klimova.

Children-404 had achieved a small victory last month when a court threw out plans to fine Ms Klimova – but it has today emerged that a court has already approved plans to block the group.

According to Buzzfeed, Ms Klimova wrote on her page on Russian social media site VKontakte: “On March 25, it appears, in St Petersburg they quietly reviewed the complaint about blocking Children-404 on VKontakte and ruled in favour of it.

“Obviously, we will soon be closed on the territory of the Russian Federation.”

Tanya Cooper of Human Rights Watch Russia said last week, ahead of the ruling: “Considering the repeated nature of legal proceedings against Children-404 and Klimova, it is clear that the authorities are using the discriminatory ‘gay propaganda’ law to harass her and force Children-404 into silence.

“Klimova finds herself, like many other Russian human rights activists, locked in a legal battle with the state rather than devoting all of her energy to helping LGBT children get access to information, justice, and equality.”