Russian activist slapped with hefty fine for the simple crime of sharing colourful drawings of happy queer families
Russian LGBT+ activist Yulia Tsvetkova has been fined 75,000 roubles (£842) on “gay propaganda” charges – for posting drawings of gay and lesbian couples online.
Yulia Tsvetkova, who was charged with spreading “gay propaganda” among minors three times in less than a year, was fined by a court in the eastern city of Komsomolsk-on-Amur on Friday (July 10).
Vladimir Putin and his government banned so-called “gay propaganda” in 2013, prohibiting the “promotion of nontraditional sexual relations to minors”. Under his rule, sharing information about LGBT+ people’s lives can earn a person a prison sentence.
Tsvetkova was prosecuted for her colourful drawings showing LGBT+ relationships. One of the drawings, called “A family where love is”, shows gay and lesbian couples with their children. Other drawings were of rainbow-coloured cats or matryoshka dolls holding hands.
Tsvetkova had told the court that the drawings were posted on a social media group aimed at adults and marked 18+.
“Today I was fined for posts about discrimination and how to fight it, for posts that family is where love is,” Tsvetkova told Reuters.
“I’ve never seen anyone harmed by a drawing of smiling people,” Tsvetkova said in court.
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“You can’t force anyone to change orientation through words or showing drawings of single-sex couples.”
Yulia Tsvetkova has been regularly targeted by Russian authorities for sharing LGBT+ drawings.
In November 2019, Tsvetkova was placed under house arrest and charged with distributing “gay propaganda” as well as the distribution of “criminal pornography”.
In December 2019, she was charged again with distributing “gay propaganda” after posting on the Russian social-media site VKontakte about intersectional feminism. In this case, Tsvetkova was fined 50,000 rubles (£561).
She was also investigated for running a social-media page called Vagina Monologues, which encourages people to share artistic depictions of vaginas in order to “remove the taboo”.
The 27-year-old is facing a criminal trial for the offence of pornography after posting drawings of vaginas online in this group.
If convicted on these charges, Tsvetkova faces six years in prison.