Tilda Swinton’s pose

Academy Award-winning actress Tilda Swinton bravely posed for a photo in front of the Moscow Kremlin holding a rainbow flag, showing her support for Russia’s LGBT community. The photo was reportedly shared by Swinton’s representative, Christian Hodell, along with the request, “Please share this message from Tilda: ‘In solidarity. From Russia with love’.”

The passing of Russia’s so-called “gay propaganda” legislation, which was recently signed into law by President Vladimir Putin and bans public LGBT demonstrations and discussions, means Swinton could face a jail sentence of 15 days and deportation for simply posing with a rainbow flag in public according to the new law. The newly adopted antigay legislation also states any individual using mass media or the Internet to share information about LGBT identities to minors can be subject to fines up to 100,000 rubles ($3,050 USD), while officials are subject to fines twice that amount, and legal entities face a 1 million ruble fine or 90-day suspension for discussing LGBT people. Additionally, Russian president Vladimir Putin also signed a bill barring same-sex couples from foreign countries from adopting Russian children. 

When Russian President Vladimir Putin banned gay “propaganda” in June last year, Russia’s LGBT community went from being a stigmatized fringe group to full-blown enemies of the state. Homophobia becoming legislation means it’s now not only accepted in Russia but actively encouraged, which has led to a depressing rise in homophobic attacks and murders. The main aim of the law, which essentially bans any public display of homosexuality, is to prevent minors from getting the impression that being gay is “normal”.

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