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Russian stars urge gay acceptance

Gay marches, like this one in Brazil, are banned in Moscow
Gay marches, like this one in Brazil, are banned in Moscow

A group of well-known Russian singers and writers has called for an end to discrimination against gay people.

They met after a local official tried to close Moscow's longest-running gay club, Dusha i Telo, where many of the artists have performed.

Activist Nikolai Alekseyev, who called the meeting, said it was the first time celebrities had come together publicly to denounce homophobia.

Requests to hold a gay pride march in Moscow have been rejected for years.

Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzkhov has previously described such parades as "satanic".

Why in our country do we have things like 'homosexuality is a genetic deviation; gays must be cured; gays should stay at home'? We think that this is a return to fascism.
Lolita
Russian pop star

Russia pop star Lolita, speaking after the event entitled Russian stars against discrimination of the gay community, said gay discrimination was in breach of the constitution which permits people to live their lives freely.

She also said gay discrimination was a problem nationwide, not just in Moscow.

Lolita, one of the biggest names at the event, told the BBC Russian Service: "Lots of members of the gay community have been celebrated across the world because of their professional and personal achievements.

"Why then in our country do we have things like 'homosexuality is a genetic deviation; gays must be cured; gays should stay at home'?

"We think that this is a return to fascism."

Homosexuality was decriminalised in Russia in 1993 and was removed from the official list of mental illnesses in 1999.

However, there is no legislation protecting people from discrimination or harassment on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity, and same-sex relationships are not officially recognised.



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