Thursday, September 30, 2010
Direct Action activist Nokolai Alexeyev has been working hard with his organization Gay Russia to improve the conditions of the LGBT community in Russia. Although homosexuality was decriminalized there in 1993, many prohibitions and persecutions remain. After successfully revoking the blood ban on gay men (which, incidentally is still in effect in Canada because Blood Services is an NGO), his group has embarked on direct actions to support all facets of LGBT rights. Recently, Alexeyev was arrested for his active organization of Pride marches in Moscow, which have been formally banned by Moscow's homophobic mayor. He was held for 2 days without access to a lawyer and harassed because he had refused to remove his shoes at a security check at an airport.
New concerns about Alexeyev's safety have emerged, which you can read about here: http://direland.typepad.com/direland/2010/09/new-concerns-for-safety-of-nikolai-alexeyev.html
What can we do to help?
Well, first of all, since Canada has identified Russia as a "Trade Priority," as shown in the chart above, you can write to your local MP to encourage them raise the issue of Russia's treatment of the LGBT community in concert with their trade agreements to ensure that their human rights are respected. Our minister of trade is Stockwell Day, so you can also write to him. Collect signatures on your letters for greater effect.