For LGBT History Month, it may be worth going back through the last couple of years in Russia. And there are some new documentaries out about LGBT people in Russia that can help you do just that.
If you need a recap, Russia has passed several anti-LGBT laws, including banning Russian adoptions to parents in countries where marriage equality is legal (including the United States), and then passing an "anti-propaganda" law that forbid any gathering or positive public expression of support for LGBT people. The stated purpose of the law was to keep pro-LGBT messages away from youth, but the law has also been used to persecute, fire, and even physically assault LGBT people.
Today, these struggles continue. The Hollywood Reporter has shared that the Russian film about LGBT youth, entitled Deti 404 (Children 404), has come under fire. Apparently, People's Patriotic Channel sent a teenage girl to buy a ticket, which she was able to do. Now the People's Patriotic Channel is claiming that the film violates the anti-propaganda law, since a teen was able to purchase a ticket for it. A previous screening was disrupted by anti-LGBT activists.
So prepare yourself to tune into three more glimpses of LGBT life in Russia:
Hunted: The War against Gays In Russia
Premieres on Monday, October 6 on HBO
This shocking exposé reveals how a recent anti-gay amendment to a Russian “propaganda” law has encouraged a rising number of violent assaults on gay men and women by civilians who, more often than not, go unpunished for their crimes. The film originally played on Channel 4 in England during the Winter Olympics.
To Russia with Love
Premieres Wednesday, October 29 on Epix
In the media frenzy leading up to the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, LGBT athletes and activists must choose whether to risk their own safety by speaking out against Russia's anti-gay laws. Cameras follow the experiences of outspoken figure skater and commentator Johnny Weir, tennis legend and official U.S. Olympic delegate Billie Jean King, as well as several openly gay Olympic hopefuls and Russian LBGT activists. This documentary features Weir as host-interviewer and chronicles two generations of Olympic LGBT athletes. The film is produced by Robert Redford and Laura Michalchyshyn's Sundance Productions.
Campaign of Hate: Russia and Gay Propaganda
Currently available on iTunes and DVD
There is much more to Russian LGBT men and woman then what is reflected in the headlines. This documentary is hosted by Michael Lucas and features Masha Gessen, Thor Halverseen, Wanja Kilber, Alexander Kargaltsev, Manny De Guerre, Gulya Sultanova, Elena Kostyuchenko, Mitya Aleshkovsky, Marnia Melnik, Andrey Obolensky, Dmitry Potapov, and Vitaly Milonov.