Lesbian Russian journalist Masha Gessen participated in a roundtable discussion on CNN last week, where she continued her outspoken opposition to her home country's increasingly violent and far-reaching crackdown on LGBT people.
Gessen, a lesbian mother who has said she will leave Russia if proposed legislation to remove children from LGBT parents passes, spoke with CNN's Christiane Amanpour, Anderson Cooper, and gay pundit Andrew Sullivan.
President Vladmir Putin signed into law two anti-LGBT bills this summer, after both were passed unanimously by parliament. A ban on "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations" imposes fines and jail time for any individual, organization, or media outlet that presents positive depictions of LGBT people or identities that could be visible to minors. In practice, the law amounts to a ban on being openly gay, with LGBT Russians and tourists arrested and beaten for peaceful gatherings where they unfurled rainbow flags or carried signs with pro-LGBT slogans. Another bill signed into law this summer prohibits gay or lesbian foreigners — or single people from nations with marriage equality — from adopting Russian orphans. And earlier this month, a state lawmaker introduced a bill that would authorize the state to remove children from the homes of LGBT parents, regardless of the parents' legal or biological relationship to the children.