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Gay tourists in Russia could be jailed or deported

A warning for gay travellers and tourists thinking about venturing to Russia this year might need to rethink their plans after Russia passes anti-gay law.

The new bill, now fully in effect could find openly gay visitors, detained for up to fourteen days, if found to be promoting homosexuality, although it is unclear what constitutes promotion.

The new bill, now fully in effect could find openly gay visitors, detained for up to fourteen days, if found to be promoting homosexuality, although it is unclear what constitutes promotion.

Skift.com has written:

The law also contains a provision permitting the government to arrest and detain gay, or pro-gay, foreigners for up to 14 days before they would then be expelled from the country. That provision ought to send chills to anyone gay, lesbians, bisexual or transgender who is planning to attend or participate in the Winter Olympics.

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The International Olympic Committee released a statement calling for the acceptance of all athletes due to attend Russia’s winter Olympics.

The International Olympic Committee is clear that sport is a human right and should be available to all regardless of race, sex or sexual orientation,” the statement said. “The Games themselves should be open to all, free of discrimination, and that applies to spectators, officials, media and of course athletes. We would oppose in the strongest terms any move that would jeopardize this principle.”

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The official and legal definition of ‘homosexual propaganda’ is currently unclear, however reports are emerging of arrests for kissing, holding hands, wearing or using rainbows.

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The Irish Department of Foreign Affairs has also updated its advice for gay people travelling to Russia. On their website the DoFA states:

“Homosexuality was illegal in the USSR up until 1993 when it was decriminalised. However, a federal law has recently been approved that prohibits the promotion of homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality and transgenderism in the Russian Federation. Fines can now be imposed on those who provide information about the homosexual, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities to minors. According to the legislation, public displays of affection or activities regarded as counter to the law may also lead to fines, arrests and deportations.”

Actress Tilda Swinton was recently seen in front of the Kremlin holding a rainbow flag with a statement that read:

“In solidarity. From Russia with love.”

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