Photo by Alvin Mahmudov on Unsplash

Is Russia changing for the better?

Currently, Russia is considered a fairly toxic environment for LGBTQ people. Its government is anti-LGBTQ and even uses a non-LGBTQ propaganda law to ban sharing LGBTQ content online and even in person. The law is also used to prohibit large gatherings of LGBTQ people (with the excuse that youth could be corrupted).

But a new survey says a rising change is coming for what Russian citizens think about LGBTQ issues.

According to a new poll by the independent Levada Center pollster, in which 1,625 respondents from 50 different Russian regions were contacted, nearly half of Russians support equal rights for LGBTQ people. Forty-seven percent of Russian respondents said that “gays and lesbians should enjoy the same rights as other citizens.” Then 43 percent disagreed.

To understand the weight of this, know that only 8 percent agreed with equality laws back in 2013.

If this survey turns out to be correct, that would mean a slow and subtle rise in LGBTQ acceptance is taking over the country. The study hypothesizes that one possible cause is the fact that Russian media isn’t as aggressively homophobic as it used to be. Though, the survey also suggests that media could do a 180 and go back to anti-gay rhetoric at any time.

If Russia decides to support LGBTQ people, it wouldn’t be the only formerly hostile country to do so. Thankfully, Brazil is now taking extra steps in protecting LGBTQ citizens with anti-discrimination laws.

Russian YouTube video where citizens kiss random strangers without knowing thier gender / Screnshot via YouTube @BASHINSKY TIME

Currently, Brazil has the highest reported cases of hate crimes and murders concerning LGBTQ people in the world. According to rights group the Grupo Gay da Bahia, 2018 saw 420 murders of LGBTQ people in Brazil. As for this year, 141 people have already been reported as victims of similar acts. But the Latin American country’s top court has just ruled to start some much-needed change.

A majority of Brazil’s Supreme Federal Tribunal judges have voted to outlaw homophobia and transphobia. While not all of the court’s 11 judges have made a decision, six have voted in favor of the motion. The other five will judge on June 5th, though the result has already been made thanks to the majority being in support of the change.

That said, will the country’s highest court receive pushback from other parts of government? President Jair Bolsonaro is expressively anti-gay. For instance, he shared offensive comments about gay people, black people, and other minorities while trying to be elected into office. The threat of his seat in office was so alarming that many same-sex couples rushed to get married in case Bolsonaro tried to repeal gay marriage in Brazil.

Will Russia join Brazil in creating laws to support LGBTQ citizens and protect them from discrimination? We’ll find out in due time.


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