Moscow and St. Petersburg may soon outlaw any public displays of LGBT-ness (things like PDA, walking like a fag and protesting for equal treatment under the law—all very queer things to do). And seeing as one Russian Legislative member claims that 90 percent of citizens support the bill and the Deputy Prime Minister now wants a national law against LGBTs, activists’ last hope if that some fellow comrades might speak against the proposed law. But can a single PSA from Russia’s only LGBT film festival convince them to do so?
Probably not, as any political movement needs a focused grassroots campaign to inform citizens and get them moving. But the PSA from the Side by Side LGBT International Film Festival still makes an important visual point by showing proud wearers of bright clothes and rainbow scarves simply hide their clothing as more of their neighbors disappear.
While the disappearances evoke Russia’s brutal history of social control via gulags, anti-Soviet purges, KGB abductions and Ukrainian deportations, the ad also makes the larger visual point that the law won’t actually rid the cities of LGBT people—it will merely make Russians of all sorts feel like they cannot safely express themselves in fear of seeming like criminal LGBT sympathizers.
The final hearing of the bill will likely happen this month. In the meanwhile even non-Russians can still sign the international petition against the hateful law.