Orthodoxy, Sexuality, Gender: The State of the Conversation Working Retreat for Orthodox LGBT Persons Sponsored by the European Forum of LGBT Christian Groups Helsinki, Finland 14 July 2018
It's been a busy few months for anyone paying attention to issues affecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in Russia.
This summer the Russian parliament passed a bill prohibiting the so-called "promotion of nontraditional sexual relations" in the presence of minors, a euphemistic expression replacing language in the initial bill which more explicitly prohibited "the promotion of homosexual relations." The new law gives no explicit definition of "promotion," resulting in an environment where Russia's mass media has curtailed any reporting that might portray LGBT people or their relationships in a positive light.
I wrote this piece back in May, hoping for publication with the Divinity School's Sightings column. But writing about current events is like trying to hit a moving target. Before it could be published, there were new developments in the case, requiring significant revision to remain under a 750-word limit. So I've decided to post here. This is the first installment on this subject.
I first visited Moscow in December of 1989 as a tourist on winter break from a program in Russian & Eastern Studies at the University of Kentucky. During one of many bus tours, we stopped at the Kropotkinskaya metro station and piled out into the snow to take pictures of a gigantic, steaming, outdoor swimming pool.