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Russian Student Sent to Prison for Displaying LGBTQ Symbols
declared “extremist” by the the country’s Supreme Court last year.He was sentenced to 15 days in jail.The 22-year-old was also fined 50,000 rubles — about $548 — for “discrediting the Russian army” in posts criticizing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on his Telegram channel, which has since been deleted.Since the Supreme Court ruling, Russian authorities have cracked down on displays or media depictions of LGBTQ identity, conflating support for LGBTQ rights as contrary to existing social mores and traditional or religious viewpoints.They have also cast pro-LGBTQ movements as potential breeding grounds for liberal Western values, including representation for sexual and gender minorities, as well as opposition to Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine.Examples of these crackdowns have included raids on bars and nightclubs frequented by members of the LGBTQ community, the disruption of a “My Little Pony” convention for allegedly promoting homosexuality, and fines or prosecutions of individuals or Western media companies accused of displaying LGBTQ symbols or advocating on behalf of LGBTQ rights.In February, a woman was arrested and charged with spreading “LGBT propaganda” for wearing rainbow-colored earrings, while another was prosecuted for displaying a rainbow Pride flag on her Instagram account.That same month, a third woman was fined for displaying a Pride flag in the window of her house.In March, a man was arrested and charged for using “extremist symbols” when he sent a rainbow flag emoji in a private chat.According to France 24, Russian authorities have begun removing books with LGBTQ content from brick-and-mortar stores and from online libraries or catalogs.A new council set up by the Russian Book Union, a nominally
Olly Alexander says he’s “ambivalent” about UK’s Union flag as it can be “divisive” and “nationalistic” ahead of Eurovision
Olly Alexander has admitted that he is “ambivalent” about the Union Jack flag.The Years and Years star, who is set to perform for the UK with his song ‘Dizzy’ at the grand final of the Eurovision Song Contest in Malmö, Sweden this Saturday (May 11), said he also found it “divisive” and “nationalist” but he wants to reclaim the flag in a “positive way”.Speaking to the media [via Metro] ahead of the contest, Alexander said: “I’ve grown up in the UK, there’s a lot that I love about the UK, maybe the people and I’m lucky to have grown up in the UK.“I too have an ambivalent relationship with the Union Jack and what that represents to people because it can feel divisive, it can feel nationalist, but it can also feel like a representation of what’s good about the UK and what makes it good – it’s the inclusivity, the diversity. I am choosing to kind of focus on those aspects of what I believe being in the UK has given me in my upbringing as well.”He continued: “I hope to reclaim the Union Jack in a positive way and when I’m going to be out there waving my flag, waving the Union Jack at the flag parade, it’s for all the good things that have come from growing up in the UK and being British and yeah, I think definitely focusing on that side of things.”It comes after Alexander recently reportedly broke down in tears during an interview when addressing the current controversies relating to Israel’s participation in this year’s competition.Alexander went on to say he supported “a ceasefire, returning the hostages, the safety and security of all people in Gaza.
‘Full Frontal’s’ Amy Hoggart, Magician Shawn Farquhar Feature in Films World Premiering in Hot Docs’ Special Presentations Section
Leo Barraclough International Features Editor Toronto’s Hot Docs, North America’s largest documentary festival, has unveiled the full lineup of films that will screen in its Special Presentations program. The festival runs April 25 to May 5. World premieres include “Red Fever,” which sees Cree filmmaker Neil Diamond travel to the four corners of Turtle Island and across Europe to explore the world’s fascination with Native Americans; “American Cats: The Good, the Bad, and the Cuddly,” in which “Full Frontal With Samantha Bee” correspondent Amy Hoggart explores the controversial practice of declawing cats; “The Ride Ahead,” an expansion of co-director Samuel Habib’s short film “My Disability Roadmap” (which got an Honorable Mention in the International Shorts section of Hot Docs in 2022), exploring a typical 21-year-old itching to move out, start a career and find love—all while navigating life with a disability; “Lost in the Shuffle,” which follows world champion magician Shawn Farquhar as he simultaneously devises a new trick and delves into a medieval murder cold case; and “Le Mans 55: The Unauthorized Investigation,” which explores the tragic Le Mans race in 1955 where more than 80 spectators were killed.