The Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation (CAO RF) has been amended. Now art. 6.21 of the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation prohibits the promotion of «non-traditional sexual relations or gender reassignment» among any people. Art. 6.21.2 of the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation prohibits «the demonstration of non-traditional sexual relations or preferences or the dissemination of information that can cause a desire to change sex» among minors. So showing one’s sexual orientation or talking about transgender identity among adults is not prohibited.
What counts as propaganda that is prohibited among any people?
Propaganda is information:
- Aimed at forming non-heterosexual attitudes (You don’t know what it is? Neither do we. It is unknown to science phenomenon);
- Aimed at forming the attractiveness of non-heterosexual relationships, preferences;
- Aimed at forming a distorted view of the social equivalence of heterosexual and non-heterosexual relationships;
- Information that evokes interest towards non-heterosexual relationships or gender reassignment, if it is «imposed».
What doesn’t count as propaganda, which is prohibited among any people?
- Coming out to the family, at home, at work;
- Coming out in social networks, stories about personal life, personal photos in social networks (but you can be held accountable if the minors can access the profile);
- Scientific information;
- Medical information;
- Non-judgmental information about LGBT without comparison with heterosexual relationships in favor of LGBT (reportage, literary text, drawing, computer game, photographs);
- Information that services are provided for LGBT people as well («LGBT-friendly» sign);
- Advertising services for LGBT people;
- Rainbow symbols (but if minors are present, you may be held accountable for «demonstration»);
- Holding hands and hugging in the street;
- Kissing in the street (but you can be held accountable for «demonstration» if this happened in the presence of minors);
- Being a client of LGBT-friendly professionals, attending LGBT events, reading «propaganda» content.
How specifically can you not propagate?
- Publish information for an indefinite range of people (in the media, in books, on a website, on a personal page in social networks, including those banned in the Russian Federation, in a group on social media, in Telegram channels, etc.);
- Perform actions in public (performance, concert, demonstration, screaming in the street);
- Impose information (continue to talk about the attractiveness of LGBT+ relationships if you received a clear refusal to listen about it, force clients, students to listen to or read what is propaganda).
When does the statement not count as propaganda?
- In a conversation with a particular person;
- In a private conversation;
- In a family;
- In a closed offline group (for example, at a support group, at an event with a certain range of participants);
- As part of an online meeting with a certain range of participants;
- Posting information in a closed group on social networks or on a closed personal page is questionable. Formally, following the letter of the law, posting in a closed group is not prohibited. However, now it is impossible to predict how Roskomnadzor will react to this and what case law will be.
What counts as a «demonstration» prohibited among minors?
- Texts, pictures, songs, audiovisual products that describe non-heterosexual relationships;
- Coming out where minors can see/hear it;
- Rainbow symbols (Most likely. But we don’t know. Nobody knows. The government is hiding it from us);
- Personal photos with non-heterosexual content (photos before and after the transition are in question);
- Photos of LGBT entertainment events (photos of drag artists are in question);
- Photos of LGBT events, if it is clear from their content that this is the picture of LGBT people;
- Discussing someone’s non-heterosexual preferences;
- Appeals to minors to reassign their gender;
- Kissing in front of children and performing erotically tinged acts.
Where specifically cannot you demonstrate?
- Offline or online if addressed to minors;
- On an audiovisual service (website, application, online cinema that shows videos or videos) if not restricting access for minors;
- In advertising (do not promote or demonstrate, but you can advertise the service itself);
- On radio and TV during the day or at night free of charge and without a password;
- As part of any online and analogue content available to minors (social networks without 18+ sign, books not tightly packed, etc.)
The case law of Roskomnadzor varies. Sometimes 18+ sign is enough, and sometimes it is required that the access to the page is banned completely, so that the page cannot be found in search engines and the link cannot be followed. Therefore, the minimum restriction is an 18+ sign. The best option is a page that is accessible only for adults you know or members of a group with an established membership restriction of 18+.
- If you posted information that falls within the characteristics of prohibited on your page on social networks or in a group that you control, then yes. If after the law enters into force, it remains there, then you distribute it right now and you are responsible for this.
- If you posted information on someone else’s resource (wrote a comment, sent an article to the site for publication, wrote a book and it went on sale), then at the moment it is not you who is distributing. The risks are borne by the owner of the site, groups in social networks, bookstore.
Where can I demonstrate?
- Social networks 18+;
- Cinemas 18+ with access code, cinemas, theaters;
- Books, paper media 18+;
- Public speaking 18+;
- In the news on the Internet without age limit.
What doesn’t count as demonstration, propaganda and is not limited in any way
- Legal and medical information about «gender reassignment»;
- Information about being transgender without describing the attractiveness of the transition;
- Reporting one’s own or another person’s transgender status;
- Holding hands and hugging in the street;
- Being LGBT+;
- Getting married;
- Reporting your sexual orientation and gender identity to government authorities, including the cases when you have been discriminated against or assaulted because of being LGBT.
What are the punishments for «propaganda» and «demonstration»?
- Extrajudicial blocking of an Internet resource. This will be the only consequence in most cases;
- Fines: for «propaganda» or «demonstration to minors» offline — 50,000 — 100,000 rubles; for «propaganda to minors» in any format 100,000 — 200,000 rubles; for «demonstration to minors» online — 100,000 — 200,000 rubles;
- Deportation of a foreign citizen.
What cannot be the punishments for «propaganda» or «demonstration»?
- Criminal prosecution;
- Dismissals (although there may be options for teachers who perform educational functions);
- Rental agreement termination.
What if I don’t pay the fine?
- Foreclosure on money in a Russian account;
- Travel ban;
- Foreclosure on cars, real estate (share of it), if the amount of the fine is comparable to the value of the property.
- Imprisonment, arrest, death penalty;
- Foreclosure on the property of relatives;
- Foreclosure on the only housing (share of it).
I am an LGBT+ person andI live with a partner. Does this mean that now my children will be taken away from me?
In short: theoretically possible, practically unlikely.
If you are a heterosexual transgender person, then there is no reason for this.
If you are non-heterosexual person and live with a partner and the child knows about your relationship, then formally «demonstration of non-traditional sexual preferences» is recognized as an offense, regardless of whether the demonstration takes place to your own children or someone else’s. At the same time, the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation prohibits the «dissemination» of information, which implies access to an indefinite range of people, and not in the family circle. However, it cannot be ruled out that the courts will ignore this detail. The very wording of the article is contradictory.
The Family Code of the Russian Federation provides for the possibility of deprivation of parental rights in case of abuse of parental rights. The commission of an offense against a child can be recognized as an abuse of parental rights.
Therefore, theoretically, the new law creates such a possibility, but only by a separate court decision after the court has issued a decision to bring you to administrative responsibility in the form of a fine for an offense specifically in relation to your child.
But criminal cases are initiated for posts, interviews, media reports not from Russia.
Law banning «LGBT propaganda» introduces administrative rather than criminal liability. Unlike the Criminal Code, the Code of Administrative Offenses does not apply to actions committed outside of the Russian Federation.