LGBT Russians in need of refuge from the country’s increasingly frightening anti-gay laws can now seek asylum in Canada. Canada’s immigration minister, Chris Alexander, said this week that claims made based on Russia’s anti-gay laws will be taken “very seriously.”
The passage of Russia’s anti-gay propaganda law just a few months before the country is to host the 2014 Winter Olympics has brought unprecedented attention to the hostility LGBT Russians face on a regular basis. Maxim Zhuravlev, a gay Russian who recently fled to Vancouver, told CBC news, “I feel that I’m protected. I feel that I can be myself. I don’t have be worried about violence.”
Zhuravlev, who has been in Canada for two months, is staying in a homeless shelter while his refugee claim is processed. “It is considered an honor for a Russian to harm or even kill a gay person. They will be honored by society and tell everyone, ‘I killed a gay person.’ Everyone basically will be proud of that.”
Let’s protect one another, friends. This is a good start.