A kiss-in intended to show solidarity with the LGBT community in Russia in the wake of the passage of new anti-gay laws, has taken place in Vancouver outside the Russian consulate.
President Vladimir Putin signed the law in June banning the promotion of “non-traditional relationships” toward minors, a move that has been criticised as part of a broader crackdown on Russia’s gay community.
Around 50 protesters gathered outside the consulate to kiss, with both men and women engaging in same-sex kissing, which according to the new federal law would be deemed illegal.
Yogi Omar, who organised the protest said it was important that the protesters did what they did.
“Something that is considered as gay propaganda in Russia, for us here is an act of love,” he said.
Demonstrator Winifred Tovey has said she was drawn to the kiss-in in the name of global gay rights.
“I think it’s important for those of us … in this much safer society to put our solidarity into the public eye,” Tovey said.
As well as the law banning homosexual “propaganda”, Russia also recently added a law banning the adoption of Russian children by same-sex foreign couples.
Last month, speaking exclusively to PinkNews, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg urged Russia to protect the rights of LGBT citizens following concerns about gay athletes and spectators attending the 2014 Winter Olympics.
He said: “Those days should be long behind us now and for those countries and those governments and regimes who don’t see it that way I think they have to move with the times.”
An organisation representing LGBT people in Russia announced last month that it is opposed to a boycott of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics – because they say participation is an important way of highlighting injustice.