Russia declares My Little Pony 18+ in ongoing anti-LGBTQ crackdown

One of the largest streaming services in Russia has changed its age rating for My Little Pony to “adult audiences” under the country’s so-called LGBTQ+ propaganda laws.

It comes less than a week after the country’s Supreme Court declared the LGBTQ+ movement to be an extremist organisation.

Created largely for children, the cartoon series My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic has had its rating changed to 18+ on the Kinopoisk movie database, which is owned by search engine and web portal Yandex.

Although the precise reason behind the decision has not been made clear, there is speculation that it could be attributed to one of the show’s characters, Rainbow Dash, who has a rainbow-coloured tail and mane.

In November, Russia’s Supreme Court declared LGBTQ+ activism illegal in a continued crackdown on the queer community.

The move brands as “extremists” what it calls the “international public LGBT movement”, with a request filed by the country’s justice ministry without defining what this term actually meant. Legal experts from human rights organisation Department One have suggested LGBTQ+ activism will officially be banned from 10 January.

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The court argued that minorities had identified “signs and manifestations” from LGBTQ+ people, which it claimed represented part of the movement, of an “extremist nature” which included a supposed “incitement of social and religious discord”.

There remains no evidence for these claims, but the ruling could leave all Russian citizens who identify as LGBTQ+ in danger of imprisonment if they are deemed to be part of the “movement”.

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Human rights lawyer and LGBTQ+ activist Max Olenichev told the Associated Press: “in practice, it could happen that the Russian authorities, with this court ruling at hand, will enforce it against LGBT+ initiatives that work in Russia.”

Russia’s crackdown on LGBTQ+ rights has continued unabated for a number of years, with President Vladimir Putin introducing a long line of homophobic legislation.

In 2013, the country adopted a law that censored what it labelled “gay propaganda”, with a vague definition issued regarding content that endorsed “non-traditional sexual relations” marketed at children.

This law has since been extended with amendments that have seen equal marriage outlawed, and gender-affirming healthcare for trans people banned.

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