Russian government warns citizens not to be homophobic while on holiday in Europe

Russia has warned homophobic citizens to refrain from homophobic attacks… while on holiday in other countries.

The advice comes from the Russian Foreign Ministry, which has updated its travel advice for visitors hoping to holiday around the world.

The guidelines, which are aimed at preventing Russian tourists from causing offence, warns them that they may see “people of non-traditional sexual orientations” while on holiday in Europe and the Americas.

The guidance for visiting France warns that in some countries it is advisable “not to speak or act abusively to members of the LGBT community”.

Advice for Russians heading to Spain warns: “Public expression of negative attitudes towards persons with different sexual orientation are not met with understanding in others, so you should refrain from it.”

Guidance for Denmark and Austria also warns Russians not to make offensive remarks to local gay people.

The entry for Canada includes the longest warning.

The travel advice warns that “there is a serious fixation on sexual equality” in Canada, “which has long legalised same-sex marriage”.

It cautions Russians against telling homophobic jokes, noting that “in addition to public condemnation, in urban areas with many sexual minorities) particularly Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal) there is a risk of punishment in the form of fines or being charged with ‘hate crimes’.”

The inconsistent guidance does not include similar warnings on a number of other equally LGBT-friendly destinations, however.

The UK’s Foreign Office previously updated its travel advice to Russia to warn LGBT people of the danger they face.

It states: “In June 2013 a law banning the promotion of ‘non-traditional sexual relations’ entered into force, but the definition and scope of prohibited activity is vague. Foreign nationals convicted under this law could face arrest and detention, fines and deportation.

“There have been reports that instances of harassment, threats, and acts of violence towards the LGBT community have increased following the introduction of the law.”

Homophobia has surged in Russia since the passage of 2013’s so-called ‘gay propaganda’ law, which has been exploited by anti-LGBT forces in law enforcement and government in order to clamp down on the LGBT community.

Some reports have suggested that vigilante attacks and hate crimes against LGBT people are on the rise in the country, but data is difficult to gather on the issue as police often do not support victims.