Under Gay Propaganda Law, Russian Court Says Lesbian Is Unfit To Teach

This photo was used as evidence that she was unfit to teach.
Apr 22, 2015 at 1:27 PM ET

A St. Petersburg school teacher fired in December for her lesbian social media activity was declared unfit to return to her job. A court called upon “experts” to analyze the teacher’s photos on VKontakte, Russia’s version of Facebook, and declared them “extremely unacceptable from a moral point of view.”

The teacher appealed to the court in January to get her job back plus a compensation of 300,000 rubles, or around $5,600, for emotional distress. Her appeal was rejected Tuesday on the grounds that she had committed “acts of indecency.”

The teacher, who has remained anonymous in the press, lost her job in December because of the crusading of Timur Isayev, who has made a career of outing school teachers who post expressions of homosexuality online. He claims their outward homosexuality violates Russia’s law against “gay propaganda.” Isayev said in December he had gotten 29 teachers fired for being gay. The St. Petersburg teacher, whose name has remained anonymous in the press, told Meduza that Isayev brought her VKontakte photos to the school’s director on a disc.

Excerpts from testimony against her show the bizarre mixture of religiosity, morality and homophobia the court relied on for its decision. Meduza gained access to some of the analysis by the so-called “experts” who testified: Alex Frost, priest and director of the organization “The Fabric Of Orthodox Intellectuals,” and Tamara Berseneva, the author of “Project On The Conception Of The Spiritual And Moral Education Of Russian Students.” Here are some of the more outrageous snippets, translated into English by Vocativ:

The investigated figure lifted her right arm and demonstrates the lifted middle finger, expressing the so-called gesture “fuck you”… On her left forearm is a clearly visible and highly noticeable tattoo (written in a foreign language)… The lips and the grimace of the investigated person express contempt for others… The left arm is lying on the right shoulder, which demonstrates a more aggressive gesture.

The object of the study stands in underwear and promotes stupidity and stupid behavior… These actions degrade the honor and dignity of others, damage the credibility and image of the teaching staff in the eyes of others and the public and promote obscenity.

This action is extremely unacceptable, etc. because it is a public demonstration of the intimate side of the subject’s personal life and perverse (lesbian) sexual preferences and an expression of her utter contempt for society and its moral and ethical principles.

These actions promote and legitimize obscene, amoral behavior, non-traditional sexual relationships among children and teenagers, form unconventional sexual attitudes, false infatuation with untraditional sexual relations and misconceptions about the social equality of traditional and non-traditional sexual relationships.

“Frenching” in public demonstrates that the girls, most likely, are in a close, intimate relationship.

The performed action humiliates and demeans the public, and it’s an expression of contempt for society.

At the bottom of the photographs’ analysis, the experts conclude the following, according to Meduza:

The actions of the investigated subject in the photographs, as well as the dissemination of the investigated subject’s photographs on the Internet, must be considered amoral acts that are incompatible with the realization (continuation of) the investigated subject in a teaching position.

The teacher told Meduza she “proudly wiped her tears” after hearing the court rejected her appeal. She might file suit with the European Court of Human Rights, the thorn in Russia’s legal side, she said. But even if she were to prevail in the European court, while she might get some compensation, there is not much precedence to show she would get her job back.

It’s not illegal to be gay in Russia, but the law against gay propaganda that president Vladimir Putin passed in 2013 essentially lets the government crack down on anyone it believes is being too public or flamboyant about their sexual preferences.

Read More

When “Gay Propaganda” Is Really Just Children Begging For Help (Vocativ)

Social Media Activist Gets 29 Teachers Fired For Being Gay (Vocativ)

Russia’s Most Viral Propaganda Video (Vocativ)