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LGBT activists of Yaroslavl held one-person pickets in support of servicewomen

Alexandra Yasharkina
Photo by Nikolai Ryabov

Activist of the Callisto Movement Yaroslav Sirotkin and supporter of the movement Marta Bain unrolled posters in support of female defenders of the Fatherland by turns in the afternoon of February 23. Pickets were held at the Znamenskaya tower. Marta's poster had a portrait of Ekaterina Zelenko, the Hero of the Soviet Union. Yaroslav's poster had the feminists’ symbol of Venus and slogan "congratulate the female defenders of the Fatherland on February 23".

Passers-by reacted to the action positively. Several men came to shake Yaroslav's hand and expressed solidarity with the slogan on his poster. Women, passing the activists by, congratulated them themselves, and the activists reminded them that February 23 was a holiday for everyone, not just for men. Yaroslav Sirotkin and Marta Bain, the organizers of the event, participate in the HeForShe campaign of solidarity for gender equality. Pickets in Yaroslavl were supposed to remind that February 23 should not be celebrated as a "purely male holiday".

- Defense of the Fatherland is a pretty broad concept, it does not mean military pilots, tank soldiers or other servicemen only, it is primarily about a person who helps other people, defends the Homeland. Someone defends the Russian language, works on the PhD — this is also a defense of the Homeland in a way, — Yaroslav Sirotkin told the correspondent of 7x7.

According to him, since 2011, congratulations to women on February 23 have begun to disappear from the media, and the state has generally started "reconstructing the patriarchate in its worst sense." In addition, Yaroslav Sirotkin was angered by the militarization of childhood — calendars with images of children in military uniforms being published — and the recent statements of Orthodox Archpriest Dmitry Smirnov who compared women living in a civil marriage with prostitutes. Activists wanted to remind by means of pickets on the Male and Female Defenders’ Day in Yaroslavl that just like men, women have rights to do whatever they want with their bodies, express their opinions and no one has the right to deny it.

— I wanted to show that February 23 is not the day of men, it is the day of the defender of the Fatherland, and both men and women can be defenders — my poster is dedicated to Ekaterina Zelenko, the Heroine of the Great Patriotic War. She was a pilot, the only woman in the world who performed a ram attack. On her plane, she fired more than 100 shots at fascist planes. She inspires me as a woman, — Marta Bain, participant of the action, told 7x7.


The Callisto LGBT Movement has been dealing with LGBT issues since 2017. The first public performance of the movement was an action on the Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20, 2017. The movement provides education and psychological assistance to members of the LGBT community.

The HeForShe movement, created by UN Women in 2014, advocates for gender equality. Actress and Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson has been the image of the movement for a long time. The idea of the movement is to involve men and boys in gender equality activities. In Russia, about 13 thousand people consider themselves supporters of the movement.

Original

Alexandra Yasharkina, «7х7»

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