"If you don't tell people you're gay everything is calm and peaceful. But as soon as you mention it, life becomes more difficult."
With commendable understatement, one young taxi driver explains the situation in Moscow, to the Vice filmmaking team who travelled there to make 'Young and Gay in Putin's Russia'.
Protesting solo is not illegal, but these activists are still unceremoniously bundled away
In this 30-minute free-to-view documentary, the filmmakers explore the increase in homophobic violence that has occurred in Russia, since the anti-gay propaganda law was passed in June 2013. With one bureaucratic blow, the state made it illegal for counsellors, teachers, doctors or even parents to tell young people in their charge, that it's ok to be gay.
The Russian law on ''propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations among minors'' was signed into law by President Vladimir Putin last year, creating what one influential think-tanker calls "a closet for gay people, a big, comfortable closet".
The bad news, this closet is neither big nor comfortable, for the youngsters being forced into lives of secret fear, those being tortured with beer bottles, and the rise of neo-Nazi groups such as Occupy Paedophilia.
The better news: The youth, and not just those minority groups affected, are fighting back. With LBGT self-defence classes, viral campaigns of activism, and spirited plans to get the message out, whether they are thwarted or not. This then is a film of both shocking statistics, optimism, strength of spirit, and unity in surprising factions. Not bad for a 30-minute movie.
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