From Russia Without Love
In the wake of the tragic shooting in an Orlando gay club that killed at least 49 people and wounded dozens more, communities across the world have come together to show their solidarity with LGBT people. Unfortunately, even mourners in some countries cannot openly express their sorrow without risking their own well-being.
LGBT rights in Russia are among the poorest in the world, with virtually no protection against discrimination, growing reports of violence against gays, and an increasing majority of the population openly opposing gay marriage.
Violence against the LGBT community is a reality around the world, and the recent tragedy in Orlando is bringing some much-needed attention to the fact that, even in 2016, those who live alternative lifestyles can be attacked and slaughtered simply for being true to themselves and loving who they love. Sadly, even as the world cries out for the lives lost in Orlando, LGBT people continue to be victimized, including a gay couple that was arrested simply for mourning the shooting at a memorial in Russia.
Despite their arrest, they still had a message of hope.
Among the many people who came to create an Orlando memorial outside the American embassy in Moscow stood Felix Glyukman and his boyfriend, Islam Abdullabeckov. According to their Facebooks, Felix is a history student at the Moscow State Academic Art Institute, and Islam is a social media manager.
While a crowd had already amassed outside the embassy and the memorial was filled with flowers, candles, signs, and even some rainbow flags, Glyukman and Abdullabeckov were singled out by police after attempting to lay down a simple sign that read “Love Wins.”
According to their lawyer, Sergey Panchenko, “Policemen there tried not to let people use any LGBT symbolics and when the guys came to the embassy and put down their banner they were immediately arrested and brought to Presnenskiy police station.”
Felix immediately posted a picture of the sign they carried and a selfie from what appears to be the back of a police car. He wrote, “Tried to lay flowers at the embassy with a sign. It did not work.”