Russian poetry contest bans entries from transgender poets

Author: Donald Padgett

The organizers of a poetry competition in Russia open to all writers regardless of nationality or citizenship have explicitly banned entries from members of the transgender community.

The rules for the Andrei Dementyev All-Russian Poetry Prize were posted on the website of the House of Poetry of Andrei Dementyev, a small cultural center in the city of Tver northwest of Moscow.

The competition is named in honor of Russian poet Andrei Dementyev, who died in 2018.

The Andrei Dementyev All-Russian Poetry Prize purports to be open to all poets without regard to the applicant’s “citizenship, nationality, profession and place of residence,” according to the group’s website.

However, the competition does not welcome trans writers or those who show disrespect to Russian history.

On the official application for the poetry contest, the seventh question directly asks if the applicant has “changed” or “cheated” their gender, depending upon the translation.

The reason for the question becomes clear after reading a separate list of entry requirements, where the contest’s organizers officially declare their ban on transgender poets.

“In order to preserve traditional Russian society and religious ideas shared by multiple denominations about marriage, family, motherhood, fatherhood, and childhood, citizens who have changed their gender are not allowed to participate in the Competition.”

Additionally, entries “demonstrating disrespect for Russian history” or containing obscene language will not be accepted.

Russia has grown increasingly hostile to the LGBTQ+ community under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin in recent years.

Last year the Russian Supreme Court declared the undefined “International LGBT Social Movement” an extremist organization allegedly operating to corrupt traditional social values within its borders. A series of raids and arrests followed the declaration.

A woman was sentenced to five days in custody for wearing earrings with Pride colors last month. The crime was revealed in a staged videotaped encounter with a man objecting to her earrings that took place on January 29.

In February, Russian police and undercover agents raided a Moscow nightclub featuring an unofficial gay night, kicking and beating patrons as they lay prone on a snowy sidewalk and also making nine arrests. On the same day, a convention in Tula dedicated to My Little Pony closed early after it was raided by police. The authorities were in search of illegal LGBTQ+ content.

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Original Article on The Advocate
Author: Donald Padgett

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