Study shows Russia’s LGBT community faced increased violence and discrimination in 2023

A new study has shown that in the past year LGBT people in Russia have become more closed-off, more stressed and suffered an increase in violence and discrimination.

The study was conducted by Coming Out and the Sphere Foundation, two Russian LGBT support groups. Answers from the 4,701 survey respondents showed that this year queer people in Russia experienced more threats of violence (25% of survey respondents had been threatened in 2023, compared to 20% in 2022) and more violent or hateful acts (43%, up from 30% in 2022).

One in five cisgender LGBT survey respondents, and one in three transgender survey respondents, said they had been refused medical care. In addition, the proportion of transgender respondents who were refused government services — even legally-permitted ones — doubled from last year.

Survey respondents also reported feeling that “homophobic and transphobic sentiments” had increased both in their own circles and in Russian society as a whole. An increased proportion had chosen to keep their sexual orientation private, and a third of cisgender LGBT respondents — as well as half of transgender respondents — said they had experienced discrimination at school or work. More than half of the respondents reported incomes significantly lower than the national average, which the survey analysis suggested could be due to workplace discrimination and lack of support from families.

In general, the survey shows a clear increase in incidents of discrimination and hate-based violence. “We see the situation deteriorating gradually, but if the trend continues, we risk receiving even more depressing data next year,” the report concludes.

On 30 November 2023 the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation deemed the “international LGBT social movement” an “extremist organisation” and thereby banned it from the country. The decision came into effect immediately, but liability for violating the new law began on 10 January 2024.

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