What do Los Angeles, Helsinki and St. Petersburg, Florida have in common? They, along with several other cities around the globe, are Sister Cities to St. Petersburg, Russia — one of the most homophobic cities in the world.
St. Petersburg’s “gay propaganda” law singles out a vulnerable minority group for persecution and legitimizes violence against LGBT people. World cities that value LGBT human rights have an obligation to suspend their Sister City relationships with St. Petersburg, as Venice and Milan have already done, until this unconscionable law is repealed.
Saint Petersburg, Russia’s cosmopolitan capital of culture, is pushing for a new law that would criminalize any book, song, film or organization that mentions the word “Gay.”
February 20, 2012. In just one week the city of Saint Petersburg could pass an outrageous bill that will make it a crime to read, write, speak or meet to discuss anything considered “Gay”. Saint Petersburg is one of Russia’s number one tourist destinations. That’s why an international storm of bad publicity will force the Governor to think twice about the cost of signing this bill.
TOM OF FINLAND FOUNDATION, LOS ANGELES AND HOMOTOPIA, LIVERPOOL ARE CURRENTLY IN DISCUSSIONS TO SEND A TOM OF FINLAND EXHIBITION TO SAINT PETERSBURG.
You have less than a week to act: tell the Governor of St. Petersburg that a city that muzzles artists, writers, musicians, citizens and visitors isn’t a city you plan to visit.
Conservatives in Saint Petersburg intent on passing this “Gay gag rule” believe they can casually dismiss calls from world leaders – and even the country’s own international treaty obligations respecting freedom of expression. But at the same time, Russian leaders recently announced that they want to invest $11 billion dollars to build their international reputation and attract tourists from around the world. St. Petersburg, Russia’s cosmopolitan “window to the west” is key to that strategy.
But they can’t have it both ways – a thriving tourist economy can’t coexist with a new law that will muzzle artists, writers, musicians and regular citizens who live in – or visit – the city.