Russia censors internet support site for LGBT teens

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Russia is set to blacklist a support website for LGBT teens that officials say violates the country’s ‘gay propaganda’ law.

Deti-404, which translates to Children-404, acts as an online support system for LGBT teens in Russia, where homophobia and transphobia continues to thrive.

The website‘s users often share their stories about the anti-LGBT prejudices endured in their everyday lives.

The group’s founder Yelena Klimova has previously been fined under the country’s ‘gay propaganda’ law over the site, and authorities forced Russian social network VK to clamp down on the group.

However, Klimova says that authorities have now gone even further, with state media watchdog Roskomnadzor set to blacklist the Deti-404 site for “spreading banned information.”

According to the Moscow Times, she said: “Most likely, the site will be suspended in Russia in the near future [but] we shall keep working.”

A letter from the watchdog claims that “information that explicitly promotes nontraditional sexual relations among children, namely homosexuality among boys, lesbianism among girls, and bisexual relationships among children” breaches laws “on the protection of children from information harmful to their health and development”.

Ms Klimova said previously: “The law against gay propaganda legitimised violence against LGBT people, and they now are banning street actions under it.

“People are afraid because they understand that gay propaganda is banned, and even mentioning LGBT relations is essentially forbidden.”

Same-sex sexual relations are legal in Russia – but the Russian LGBT community faces regular oppression from the government under the ‘gay propaganda’ law. Anti-gay vigilante groups also often operate with impunity.

Russian President Vladimir Putin recently has attacked homophobic US laws, claiming Russia ensures equal rights to all LGBT people.

He claimed that homophobia in Russia has been “deliberately exaggerated”, before attacking the United States and the anti-gay laws that he says still exist there.