Is Russia about to make coming out a crime?

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The proposed legislation will also ban public displays of affection among gay men.

Russia’s State Duma will next week decide whether or not to make coming out illegal.

Is Russia about to make coming out a crime?

In November, two senior Russian MPs – Ivan Nikitchuk and Nikolai Arefyev – presented a bill calling for people who come out as LGBT to be imprisoned for up to 15 days.

In addition, any public displays of affection among gay men – but not lesbians – would result in jail time and a possible fine of 5,000 rubles (£55,$80).

The lawmakers say they are only targeting gay men as the believe women are more “reasonable” and can “manage their emotions”.

They added that the bill will strengthen “traditional Orthodox values”.

“We have our own idea of honour and conscience, and we must respect tradition,” Nikitchuk told the Russian News Service.

“The scum that comes to us from the West is unnatural to Russia. These unconventional sexual desires do nothing but disgust normal, smart, healthy people.

“It is sick that disgusting people feel they should be treated the same.”

Is Russia about to make coming out a crime?

Whilst the current anti-gay propaganda law – which bans the promotion of ‘non-traditional’ relationships – covers the banning of Pride, the new measures would see any person wishing to support the rights of sexual minorities also facing imprisonment.

“I do not think lawmakers dare to express their explicit support for homosexuals,” Nikitchuk added.

Tanya Cooper of Human Rights Watch criticised the proposal, saying: “This draft law is a new and absurd low in discriminatory legislative proposals.

“The draft proposes to effectively outlaw being gay, and just being yourself could land you behind bars.”

The vote will take place on January 29.