The struggle to promote gay rights in Russia is not an easy one. Even though Russia is progressing in their social programs, a heavily religious population and some throw-back draconian laws prevent the movement from receiving even the limited rights that the LGBT community in American enjoys. The churches scream loudly to make all things homosexual illegal and the government passes laws to hedge in activity by the community as a whole. And though gay rights activists make attempts to fight, sometimes the backlash can be quite tragic, as was the case this last week.
During a “coming out” party at a Russian gay-friendly club, about two-dozen nationalists wearing masks stormed in and caused violence. They beat up many of the patrons, most of which were women, using both their fists and bottles. The attack resulted in multiple injuries, though thankfully only four people were forced to go to the hospital and none were killed.
Finding and prosecuting these people will prove to be more complicated than it would seem, despite the fact that they were caught on camera before they put their masks on. The fact that there are no laws pertaining to hate crimes in Russia and a police force that is less inclined to care what happens to the LGBT community makes it an uphill struggle.
This is not the first violent attack against gays in the country. There have been seven so far this year, and those are just the ones that have been reported. The violence comes from nationalist elements, police officers and religious factions, so the LGBT community finds itself under assault on all fronts.
The future of the movement is not in question - Russia will see a blossoming of gay rights just as America has and just as the world will see some day. The question is - how long will it take for real change to be made? Only by banding together can the various LGBT communities across the world support each other during these times of need and let each other know that there will indeed be change.