Pro-Putin nationalists disrupt performance of gay play in Moscow with homophobic slurs

Out of the Closet, which contains no explicit content, is based on real stories of men coming out to their mothers.

A play with gay themes was disrupted in Moscow after pro-Kremlin activists stormed the venue shouting homophobic slurs.

Twelve ultra-nationalist activists barged into the performance of Out of the Closet on Wednesday (August 28) at 100-seat Moscow venue Teatr.doc.

The play, which does not contain explicit content, is based on real stories of men coming out to their mothers.

Thugs barged into Moscow theatre and shouted homophobic slurs at audience members.

The protesters claimed that the play was a violation of a Russian law banning the “promotion of non-traditional sexual relations” to minors, even though the theatre had operated an over-18s policy with strict ID checks.

When police were called to the incident, they opted to detain the play’s director Anastasia Patlay as well as two audience members. The protesters were not detained.

In a public statement, Teatr.doc said: “No member of the mob was detained [and they] continued to hinder the audience.

“The police did not protect the audience and did not ensure their safety.

“We are not afraid or offended, we are just disgusted because our theatre-goers cannot feel safe. Even next to a cop.”

Patlay told Meduza that she was taken to the police station for “questioning” and later released without charge. One of the audience members was charged for “disorderly conduct”.

The Moscow-based play is based on real stories of gay people coming out to their mothers

Protesters wearing the insignia of an ultra-nationalist group stormed into the Moscow theatre (Teatr.Doc)

She said police did not seem concerned or surprised by the presence of the thugs, who had started scuffles and shouted homophobic slurs at audience members.

The director said: “The police acted like they’d known these people for a long time, like they didn’t care at all about the disorderly conduct in the theatre or the disruption of the show.

“The police didn’t check even one of these people’s papers. They acted as though they and [the protesters] were on the same team.”

The performance eventually continued despite Patlay’s detention.

Patlay says police have twice before sought to investigate claims that the play was “defiling children” and violating the gay propaganda law.

Russia ‘gay propaganda’ law violates human rights standards.

Russia has been rebuked by the European Court of Human Rights three times in three years for violating the human rights of LGBT+ people.

A 2017 decision found that the country’s gay ‘propaganda’ law has been exploited to stifle free expression for LGBT+ Russians.

“The very purpose of the laws and the way they were formulated and applied… [has] been discriminatory and, overall, served no legitimate public interest,” the Strasbourg-based court said.

“Indeed, by adopting such laws, the authorities had reinforced stigma and prejudice and encouraged homophobia, which was incompatible with the values of a democratic society.”