For several months now, it’s not been possible to login to the domains lgbtnet.org/en/ and old.lgbtnet.org/en — either within the territory of the Russian Federation or abroad. Roskomnadzor has entered them into the unified register of prohibited sites, which is mandatory for all internet service providers. The LGBT Network site does not have a mirror or other workarounds of this unlawful ban, but it opens via VPN. The only page that can be successfully opened in Russia is the backup one, via which one can send a request for help.
On July, 7th, the Moscow City Court cancelled the decision of the district court on blocking the website of the Russian LGBT Network.* The case is being handled by the legal services of the Sphere Foundation.* Now it is being sent for revision due to violations of procedural law.
The Sphere team shows how the same things are distorted in the motivational part of the blocking order.
1. What the court saw: “The site promotes the acquaintance of citizens with non-traditional sexual orientation, which can harm human health and compromise personal development.”
The truth is: Awareness of LGBT+ people helps to reduce social tension and anxiety. A person becomes kinder to others, and, therefore, to themselves.
2. What the court saw: “The site can distort the child’s ideas considering such values as as family, motherhood, fatherhood and childhood, and negatively affect his adaptation.”
The truth is: Families are different, their value is not determined by gender identity or number of family members. If a child is loved and cherished, nothing threatens their adaptation. Moreover, access to the site is not recommended for persons under the age of 18.
3. What the court saw: “The site promotes social intolerance and contains pornographic materials and a call for antisocial behavior.”
The truth is: The site offers LGBT+ people and their loved ones legal, psychological, and other types of assistance.
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In July 2021 , the Basmanny interdistrict Prosecutor’s office of Moscow demanded to block the resource lgbtnet.org/en/ for the distribution of “prohibited information.”
In October, the court granted the claim. Later on the decision was successfully appealed to a higher authority, that is to the Moscow City Court.
“This is a small victory for us,” Ekaterina Dikovskaya, lawyer of the Sphere Foundation, commented, “and we will continue to fight for the restoration of full access to the LGBT Network website.”
*The Russian LGBT Network and the Sphere Charitable Foundation, according to the Ministry of Justice, perform the functions of foreign agents.