Since then, the situation has only worsened. This law, positioning us as threats to children, gave a ‘green light’ to violence and harassment against LGBTIQ people targeted by a vicious smear campaign in the name of so-called ‘traditional values’.
This is a useful ideology for those in high office: aligning the president with the Orthodox church, thus giving him almost divine-like status, and increasing his power.
But hate crime and hate speech against LGBTIQ people has risen, culminating in reports of mass persecution, illegal detention, torture and even murders in the Chechen republic, carried out with seemingly complete impunity. Lawmakers in Russia have also discussed steps to remove children from families like ours, though this did not pass.
Against the odds, we continued our activism in Russia as long as we could. Organising with the Moscow LGBT community centre, we were on the frontline helping those fleeing Chechnya to get to safety. Yet, life as lesbian parents was increasingly tough.
I was determined to keep fighting, but I feared the repercussions this could have on my family. I lived in constant fear that the state would tear us apart. We left Russia in 2018.
We now live in New York, freely and publicly as a lesbian couple without fear of persecution, imprisonment, or the forcible break up of our family. Though, even here, the impact of Russia’s ideological weapon – these so-called ‘traditional values’ – is felt.
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