Russian authorities shut down a photo exhibit featuring LGBT teens that was due to open Friday at a Moscow gallery.
Officers first showed up at the venue Wednesday looking for an exhibit about "homosexuals and pedophilia," Taria Polyakova, one of the organizers, told Kommersant. The exhibit was called off after police interrogated the person who was renting out the space to the gallery.
Polyakova told BuzzFeed News that police also came to her mother's home Wednesday and kept watch at the gallery Friday even after the organizers announced the cancellation. She said one of the teens featured in the photographs was attacked while walking with his boyfriend and suffered a concussion. The police thwarted an attempt by organizers Saturday to display the photos in open air on a Moscow street.
The pictures, taken by Mary Gelman and a photographer who requested anonymity due to security concerns, feature young LGBT people from Moscow and St. Petersburg. The accompanying text, provided by Polyakova, was condensed and translated from Russian by BuzzFeed News.
In 2013 Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law a ban on "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations among minors," and has said the legislation is intended to protect children. Advocates say the rule makes it more difficult for LGBT teens to access accurate, affirming information about their sexual orientation or gender identity.
"This exhibit is first of all an opportunity for everyone to see and hear those who do not exist for politicians, social services or the wider society — but who are nonetheless every second still breathing, thinking and trying to find their place in the world," the organizers said in a press release. "Now they are speaking, not being spoken about."