To paraphrase noted American heterosexual Will Smith, sometimes parents just don’t understand. That certainly seems to be the case in Russia these days, where 24 year-old LGBT activist Dmitry Isakov stands to be the first person convicted under the country’s anti-gay propaganda law.
Isakov staged a one-man protest in Kazan on July 30, holding a sign that read, “Being gay and loving gays is normal. Beating gays and killing gays is a crime!” According to Pink News, Isakov’s parents helped police arrest their son at the demonstration, with his father holding him down and his mother taking the sign out of his hands.
More recently, a Russian teen named Erik Fedoseyev filed charges against Isakov after seeing pictures of the protest on the internet. Fedoseyev’s father, who’s wife left him for another woman, forced him to file the complaint. If convicted, Isakov faces up to $150 in fines.
It’s unclear why Isakov’s parents turned against their son. Regardless of their motives, the fact remains that he continues to suffer harsh consequences from the arrest. Following his protest, police officers beat Isakov so badly he had to walk on crutches for 10 days. He also lost his job at a bank, although the bank claims the arrest had nothing to do with his termination.
Prominent Russian LGBT activist Nikolai Alekseyev has said that he is providing legal support for Isakov, whose case is currently at the Supreme Court of Tatarstan. The extent of Alekseyev’s involvement remains unclear. Alekseyev is a controversial and volatile figure in Russia.
Last month, Russian-born porn impresario Michael Lucas penned a scathing op-ed about Alekseyev. Among other claims, Lucas suggested that Alekseyev has been bought by the Kremlin and no longer can be trusted to advocate for Russia’s queer population. In response, Alekseyev has begun to rail against the West on social media, specifically targeting Lucas, who’s Jewish, in a series of anti-Semitic meltdowns.
Tomorrow London protest “Love Russia, hate homophobia”. We suggest “Love Jews, hate jids (kikes)!”
— Nikolai Alexeyev (@n_alexeyev) September 2, 2013