Russian court finds "Coming Out" LGBT organization to be a "foreign agent"

Due to laws currently in place, the Russian government has the power to declare an organization a foreign agent as an administrative matter. In other words, any LGBT organization or an event can be labeled as spy that is harmful to the country of Russia. On July 21st, Vasileostrovsky District Court of St. Petersburg found “Coming Out” LGBT organization to be a "foreign agent". Judge Naidyonova furthered explain her decision by stating that “Coming Out” violated the right of “persons with traditional sexual orientation". She also added that the brochure for the organization is propaganda material.

“Someone reads this brochure, and is impressed, and might start to share these thoughts with other people, create a coalition and start activities”

The "Coming Out" organization has been under constant harassment under the "Foreign Agent" law for more than 16 months. Now that the organization is officially labeled as foreign agent, the organization can appeal.

“The arduous attempts to label us “foreign agents” are in line with the Russian Federation’s promotion of traditional values, domestically and abroad, of which homophobia seems to be an important one,” says Coming Out’s activist, Polina Andrianova. “Our goal is equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. We want St. Petersburg’s citizens to understand and respect each other. We will not work under this label.”

Labeling an organization as foreign states that such organization is detrimental to the society. Extra governmental audits can cause a strain on the organization and therefore limit its capabilities to serve the public.

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