Russian police seize school drawings for ‘promoting homosexuality’
Russian police confiscated 17 drawings at a school in Yekateringburg for ‘promoting homosexuality.’
The school had organised a week-long drawing competition in November occasion of International Day of Tolerance, observed on November 16.
The competition, titled “Tolerant World,” was open to pupils from 5th to 11th grade.
Pictures of the drawings were first published in the Russian news outlet Ural.ru under the headline: “Ural school holds contest With posters showing gays and lesbians.”
One of the drawings made by a 9th grade student featured a writing saying: “We don’t choose our appearance, orientation, or race. We are all unique in our own ways.” The student also drew three couples of stick figurines—each representing a different combination of genders.
In another drawing, three people of different genders and ethnicities can be seen embracing under a writing saying: “We are tolerant. Are you?”
The Ural news outlet noted that several other drawings contained depictions of rainbows.
Russian police investigates breach of ‘gay propaganda law’
City officials have defended the drawings from accusations they breach Russia’s so-called “gay propaganda law,” which bans the distribution of material “promoting non-traditional sexual relationships” towards minors.
“There were no drawings promoting non-traditional values at the exhibition.”
— City authorities spokesperson
“The figures reflect universal human values: friendship, respect, mutual understanding and acceptance of the values and attitudes of other people. Some works depict a rainbow—a symbol of purity, childhood, friendship, personifying the unity of peoples of different nationalities,” a spokesperson for the mayor’s office said, quoted in Ural.ru.
“There were no drawings promoting non-traditional values at the exhibition,” the spokesperson added.
Psychologists were dispatched to the school to explain the drawings to students and parents, Ural.ru reported on November 28. The city authorities also conducted “outreach work” with the teachers who organised the drawing competition.
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Mother reported exhibition to Russian police
Russian police told local media the authorities were called to the school following complaints from the parents—one mother filed an official report.
Authorities are reviewing the material before deciding how to proceed, a process that is expected to take a month.
“Currently, as part of the inspection, police officers seized 17 drawings, and a procedural decision will be made on the basis of the inspection,” the Ministry of Internal Affairs’a regional office said in a statement quoted in Russian news agency Interfax.
Earlier this year, a Russian 16-year-old became the first minor to be convicted under the “gay propaganda law” in August for posting pictures of men online.