Russia has gone down the dark path of cultural cleansing of the LGBT community. Partly driven by religious intolerance fuled by ignorance. With those flames of ignorance fanned by those such as Scott Lively, recently charged with human rights violations in regards to his work of LGBT genocide throughout the world.

Elton John took much chaff for visiting Russia in order to perform there. Apparently he was not aware how bad it was there until speaking to residents. In response to not only the condemnation for going to Russia but his observations it is clear Elton John was appalled the country had regressed into lawlessness so quickly.

The people I met in Moscow – gay men and lesbians in their 20′s, 30′s and 40′s - told me stories about receiving threats from vigilante groups who would ‘cure’ them of homosexuality by dousing them with urine or beating them up. One young man was stalked outside a gay club by someone posing as a taxi driver who tried to garrotte him with a guitar string because he was a “sodomite”. Everyone shared stories of verbal and physical abuse – at work, in bars and restaurants or in the street – since the legislation came into force last June. And, some of the vital work providing HIV prevention information to the gay community has been labelled “homosexual propaganda” and shut down.

It was very clear to me that, although foreigners like myself who are visiting Russia are not affected by this new law (and President Putin has recently confirmed this), it is a very different story for those living inside the country. As Maria Maksakova told her fellow Russian MPs last month: “We are seeing extremely negative consequences as a result of this law, with the growth of hate crimes.”

President Putin asserts that this was not the intention, but it is undoubtedly the effect that this law has had by promoting misunderstanding and ignorance. In particular, it is very disappointing that the law explicitly links homosexuality with child sex abuse, which countless studies have shown to be conclusively wrong.

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