Monday, January 26, 2015

Russian convicted of violating propaganda law for running LGBT youth site; a little club news

A judge in Russia has convicted someone of violating the country’s anti-gay propaganda law for running a website for LGBT youth, the “Children 404 Project”, which still has a page in Russian on Facebook, here. On the Internet, "404" usually means "not found". 
Yelena Klimova was fined about $780.  The judge refused to postpone the trial despite the apparent non-availability of the defendant’s attorney.  Michael Lavers has a story on the Washington Blade Friday here
The main result of the law still seems to be the indirect condoning of vigilante violence, and the closing of clubs because of harassment.   The Blade results some people seeking asylum (previous stories) and it isn’t yet clear how dependent asylum processing might become on sponsorship, in the future, as the idea is rarely discussed openly.
A question remains, can an “out” LGBT person safely visit Russia?  It appears that social media pages and websites of westerners are readily available in Russia (there appears to be less attempt to block them than in China) and I wonder if they could be used to detain visitors who might try to visit for legitimate tourism.  Yet, a lot of heterosexual business people with no ties to the LGBT community find Russia “hip”, even given economic problems recently and Putin’s aggression in the Ukraine.
I still think that the main reason for Russia’s attitude has to do with the low birth rate, and a notion young adults will find having children burdensome unless everyone has to do it.
On the local club front, I’m trying to find out when the new DC Eagle will open, since its Twitter feed shows a lot of construction progress,  The website says that after a previous move years ago, it opened at a new location without missing a beat.  Not this time.  (Update:  A new story in the Blade Jan. 26 says that new DC mayor Muriel Bowser spoke at a private "soft opening";  the grand opening has yet to be announced, link..) 
While in Philadelphia last week, I found a small place called UBar, SE of City Hall, during happy hour.   

Update:  Feb. 5

The DC Eagle says it is open Thurs-Sat.  It mentions a shoe dress code but does not yet mention a leather code.  But it is common for many leather bars to require leather for at least one weekend night a week.  For example, that was true in Minneapolis when I lived there.  It would be helpful if the website provided parking and transit information. 

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