Russian activist faces third set of ‘gay propaganda’ charges for the simple crime of drawing happy queer families

Russian feminist Yulia Tsvetkova faces six years in jail for vagina drawings

A Russian LGBT+ activist and artist is facing “gay propaganda” charges for the third time in less than a year after posting a picture of happy queer families.

Yulia Tsvetkova has revealed that she is facing “gay propaganda” charges for a third time for sharing materials to support rainbow families in response to pro-Putin viral campaign ads denouncing the LGBT+ community.

Vladimir Putin and his government banned so-called “gay propaganda” in 2013, prohibiting the “promotion of nontraditional sexual relations to minors”. Under his rule, sharing information about LGBT+ people’s lives can earn a person a prison sentence.

According to Meduza, authorities in the city of Komsomolsk-on-Amur are investigating Tsvetkova after she posted a drawing which included the phrase: “A family is where there is love. Support LGBT+ families!”

She later posted another picture, which showed various queer families raising children.

In November 2019 Tsvetkova was placed under house arrest and charged with distributing “gay propaganda” as well as the distribution of “criminal pornography”.

She was investigated for running a social media page called Vagina Monologues, which encourages people to share artistic depictions of vaginas in order to “remove the taboo”. The case is ongoing.
In December 2019, she was charged again with distributing “gay propaganda” after posting on the Russian social media site VKontakte about intersectional feminism. In this case, Tsvetkova was fined 50,000 rubles (£561).

On June 28, police in Russia detained more than 30 people, mostly women, gathered in in central Moscow to stage separate one-person protests against Tsvetkova’s latest charges.

Participants stood in line to picket one at a time, with one holding a placard that read: “Today they send [us] to prison for pictures, tomorrow they will send [us] to prison for letters? Freedom for Yulia Tsvetkova!”

According to the OVD-Info group that monitors political arrests in Russia, at least 38 people were detained and taken to a police station. It was not clear if they would be charged.