Russian poetry competition bans transgender applicants

Author: John Russell

The organizers of a Russian poetry competition have banned entries from transgender people.

Organized by the regional government of Tver, a city northwest of Moscow, the competition is named for the late prize-winning Russian poet Andrey Dementyev, who died in 2018. Previous competitions have not explicitly banned trans people from submitting their work, according to Russian independent news outlet Mediazona.

However, The Advocate reported that the competition’s official application currently includes a question asking if the applicant has “changed” their gender.

The competition’s official rules state that trans people are banned “in order to preserve traditional Russian society and religious ideas shared by multiple denominations about marriage, family, motherhood, fatherhood, and childhood.”

Nef Cellarius, program coordinator for Russian LGBTQ+ rights group Vykhod (“Coming Out”), said that the rule change is likely an effort on the part of local officials to show their loyalty to the anti-LGBTQ+ Russian president.

“As soon as it becomes known that the ‘Tsar’ doesn’t like something, the entire state apparatus begins to publicly condemn this ‘something,’” Cellarius told Reuters last week.

Russia has become increasingly hostile to the LGBTQ+ community over the past decade, beginning in 2013 with the passage of legislation banning so-called “gay propaganda” in the presence of children. In 2022, the law was expanded to effectively outlaw all public expressions of LGBTQ+ allyship. Last year, at the behest of Ministry of Justice, the Russian Supreme Court declared the “international LGBT social movement” a threat to the public order.

Since that ruling, there have been multiple raids on LGBTQ+ bars and other establishments in cities across Russia, and multiple people have been arrested and charged under the country’s anti-LGBTQ+ laws. Last month, the art director and the administrator of an LGBTQ+ club became the first two people ever to be charged under the ministry’s declaration after Russian authorities, aided by members of a local nationalist group, raided the venue during a drag show.

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Actual Story on LGBTQ Nation
Author: John Russell

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