On November 20, Yaroslavl activists held an action to commemorate the transgender people killed because of hatred. At the appointed time LGBT activists came out with single pickets, but despite police protection, they were pelted with eggs and pursued with electric shocks. The correspondent of «7x7» visited the action.
Background of the action
LGBT activist Alyona Erokh has planned a mourning action in memory of transgender people killed because of xenophobia. November 20 is the Transgender Day of Remembrance, which was founded in 1999 by the US human rights defenders to memorialize the murder of black female transgender Rita Hester. Erokh appointed an action at the monument to the theatrical figure Fyodor Volkov. In her opinion, this site was previously considered the meeting place for representatives of the LGBT community of Yaroslavl. The activist asked the police to protect the action from possible attacks. At 16:00 she stood in a single picket at the monument with a poster "Transgender's Remembrance Day" and put several candles next to it.
At the beginning of the event Erokh told the «7x7» correspondent that she did not know what to expect, as she faced homophobic comments on the Internet. A passing man shouted to her: "Get out of Russia, shitty degenerates! Russia will live and develop, damn it!". The young woman called this position "low homophobia", because "at least they do not try to kill her". "This is the future of Russia," said LGBT activist Roman, who replaced her in a single picket.
The policeman, who took explanations from the activists, had to protect them from the crowd. A group of young people demanded to remove the poster, and the policeman replied: "She should not remove anything, moderate your language, young man." LGBT activists did not have a rainbow flag in their hands and the policeman said that everything is fine until propaganda appears.
Alexandra Yasharkina defended picketers from annoying questions of young people. She was also asked a few: "How old are you? Probably fifty? Who do you love, boys or girls?".
"I like ice cream!" she answered.
She told the «7x7» correspondent why she came to support the activists:
"In Russia, transgender people are considered the most unremarkable part of the LGBT community. Usually, when they say "LGBT", they mean lesbians and gays — no one else. Therefore, it is very important to educate people [...]. For the lay people, the LGBT community is some kind of "formal faggots", it's unclear what they are doing. It is important to talk about this not even in order to lower the level of homophobia in society, but to show those who can not decide, looking for the place in the world, that they are not alone. A person lives, and suddenly realizes that he can not consider himself a girl or a boy. He thinks: "I guess I'm some kind of mentally ill." It seems nonsense, teenage things that eventually pass. But they do not pass, and it is very important to say to such people: "You are not alone!".
About alcoholism and homosexuality
The correspondent of «7x7» asked the young people who came to the action (who later pelted eggs to activists and trampled down the candles) about the claims to LGBT:
"We came just in public solidarity. We have a claim to this meeting. Minorities are gathering, they want to make something public, it's embarrassing. They wrote about it on the Internet. If, for example, alcoholics, drug addicts, former prisoners are going to protest against an increase in gasoline prices, they do not announce who they are. And these people emphasize who they are. For example, lesbians. I think this is wrong. We are people of different movements — "Sober Yaroslavl", for example. We are indifferent. I'm not saying that we've come to drive them off or something. We must tell them that they can’t come and say that we, excuse me, faggots, we will make a hangout against violence. The younger generation will ask them questions about who they are," said young man who introduced himself as Maxim.
"They are trying to say that this is normal, and this is not normal," another young man picks up. "It's a mental illness! Here they stand with the poster "Hatred Kills", but does homosexuality develop society? [...] If they have this illness, then they either have to be treated, or sit somewhere, without drawing attention to it."
The incoming journalists drew the attention of the LGBT opponents to the fact that parents of children with disabilities also go to the action to draw attention to the illnesses of their children.
"Ah, well, this is a good thing, parents are not to blame for the fact that they were born this way," one of the opponents of LGBT activists answered. "These [LGBT] people do not even have a mental disability, they have kind of perverted thinking. It's like alcoholism. Many say that this is a disease, and others say that there is no such disease."
"If the law enforcers did not protect them, we would suppress them," another young man summed up.
"I know they have their own bar for gays — they should call journalists there and tell everything about themselves. The society is mired in this — alcohol and drug addiction, all this. The younger generation already takes this for granted. I'm 30 years old, but they do not believe me, they say I’m 25. My classmate looks like my father, he offers me a drink, I tell him: "You will die!". He answers: "No, I will stay in addiction clinic for a week and will be healthy." For young people this is already normal. If these [LGBT] people are going to go out like that — this will also become normal in about ten years.
"I have friends — lesbians and homosexuals, but they are not here. They do not shout about it," another guy replies.
At this moment, one of the opponents of LGBT activists began to threaten a «7x7» photographer to break up the camera.
"Well, it's not necessary to go rogue, of course. We did not come here to fight," Maxim "reassured" photographer. Subsequently, however, one of his comrades threw an egg at the photojournalist.
"This hatred is built more on ignorance," explained LGBT activist Roman after the young people trampled down the candles and flowers brought by picketers. "We are shouting that we are gay and lesbian, although the action is in memory of dead transgender people. We have no propaganda, this is a mourning event."
A young man in a black cassock stood in a single picket with the inscription "Do not kill". He introduced himself as a priest of the Celtic Church of Germany and told that he came from the Kemerovo region to support the action. Journalists asked him about the church's attitude toward same-sex relationships, but he replied that the Bible prohibits homosexual practices with ritual overtones, not homosexuality in general. When asked about what inspired him to come such a long way for the sake of one action, he answered in one word — "Solidarity".
During the wrangling of Alexandra Yasharkina with the opponents of the action, one of them pointed to a girl standing in a crowd next to him. People started to shout: "She's a guy!". The girl confirmed that she was a transgender, and introduced herself as Anna. Young people began to ask what she had between her legs, what kind of relationship she had with her parents, whether she was working.
"These people just behave aggressively, I do not understand where they get such aggression. I have difficult relationships with my parents. I've been on hormone therapy for a year," said Anna.
After the action. The Navalny headquarters
The activists were pelted with a few chicken eggs, the candles were stomped, after which the action ended. However, the opponents decided to "accompany" LGBT activists who went down the street under the police protection. On the way, they decided to take refuge in the headquarters of Navalny.
Deputy coordinator of the headquarters Alexander Smirnov told «7x7» that the action of LGBT activists, in his opinion, has the right to exist.
"At the request of the activists, we granted them asylum. We have no relation to the organization of this action, but we came as soon as found out about provocations against the activists."
The "attendants" were still crowded around the headquarters for several minutes holding electric shockers. One of them began to pull himself up on the porch of the headquarters building.
Transgender Anna admitted that she came to the action as a spectator:
"I came for no reason, and got an outing. I'm in shock."
"An outing is when they reveal an orientation without the consent of a person. This is very indecent," one of the activists explained to the audience.
Activists called a taxi. The police were on duty at the entrance to the headquarters all this time. Human rights activists who accompanied LGBT activists noted the professional behavior of police officers.
Daniil Kuznetsov, «7x7»