Δευτέρα 14 Οκτωβρίου 2013

Interview with Sasha Semenova



My friend Sasha Semenova, whom I've mentioned before (the coordinator of HLBTI family work in St Petersburg) is in dangerous situation with her child in Russia and needs to move away for probably a couple of years or so. Could your organization help them somehow (t.ex. by offering a job, a volunteer or study programme)or maybe you know someone she could contact? Below is a description of Sasha's and her son's situation. Sasha is a wonderful person and a very dear friend of our family, and the work she does for her special needs son in addition to the activist work is outstanding. Nadja Sasha Semenova -has been active in "Coming Out" since 2008.
 Half a year ago, when it became clear that the organization was at risk of being closed, the activists registered another nominally entrepreneurship organization ("New Horizons") so it would be able to continue working for LGBT and advocating for their rights, after "Coming Out" might have faced a complete shutdown. Currently, all the contracts with "Coming Out" donors are signed with the new organization, which is registered as a commercial enterprise to avoid the "foreign agents law" which concerns only non-profits. Sasha Semenova took on herself to be the director of "New Horizons", because her passport name is not associated with LGBT activism, and thus it was thought she will not attract attention to the new organization. However, few months ago it became clear that the government is aware of the new strategy of non-profit organizations to get around the foreign agent law, and the organization might easily fall under surveillance and suspicion, the outcomes of such prospects are unclear now.
The central problem that directly relates to that now is that Sasha is an adopting mother of a 8 y/o child, who has lived with her and her female partner for more than 5 years. At the present time, parenting and especially adoption by LGBTQI is under attack in general and the activists are naturally in the spotlight in regards to this, as the Russian authorities claim they intend to even take children away from LGBT people (Elena Mizulina, Vladimir Zhuravlev, members of the State Duma and the United Russia party). For details one can refer to Masha Gessen (Russia LGBT activist from Moscow) who says that the State Duma will pass the legislation that will allow taking non-biological children from LGBT, so she leaves for the US with her family and kids:http://www.bbc.co.uk/russian/russia/2013/07/130717_gessen_leaves_russia.shtml
The State Duma is discussing an outrageous proposal: deprive parents rights of people “who allow non-traditional sexual relations”. The amendment to the Family Code was drafted by a United Russia delegate Zhuravlev. Duma’s Committee on Family, Women and Children started work on this law and recommended to include is in the State Duma program for February of 2014. The author of the law Zhuravlev says: “As for exposing these people, we have the school the child attends and various afterschool activities. Sooner or later everything will come out.” 
If "New Horizons" will be brought to court or go under media-persecutor attention, chances are high that she will be sued or otherwise persecuted and her son, who had lived with her for more than 4 years and has little chance of being adopted by anyone else due to his age, learning disabilities and HIV positive results will be taken away by the authorities and put back to orphanage. While the situation is very hard, nothing can be said with certainty about the prospects of the ”New Horizons”. Thus, Sasha and her son need to find a way to relocate for some period, while New Horizons course of actions will hopefully clarify and we will be able to see how dangerous the situation actually is, and address it appropriately, while Sasha herself and the child are away from the prosecution and media attention.

Ένα νέο νόμο που θα καταργεί τα γονεϊκά δικαιώματα των ομοφυλόφιλων λόγω του σεξουαλικού προσανατολισμού τους πρόκειται να συζητήσει τον ερχόμενο Φεβρουάριο το ρωσικό Κοινοβούλιο.
Το νομοσχέδιο, που είναι ήδη διαθέσιμο στον ιστότοπο της Δούμας, προβλέπει, μεταξύ άλλων, να απομακρύνονται τα παιδιά από τους γονείς που έχουν «μη παραδοσιακές σεξουαλικές σχέσεις».
Η συζήτηση θα γίνει, μάλιστα, την περίοδο διεξαγωγής των Χειμερινών Ολυμπιακών Αγώνων στο Σότσι. Αγώνες που απειλήθηκαν ακόμη και με μποϊκοτάζ από πολλές χώρες και αθλητές μετά τη ψήφιση του αμφιλεγόμενου νόμου κατά της… «ομοφυλοφιλικής προπαγάνδας» που επικύρωσε το καλοκαίρι ο Β. Πούτιν, προκαλώντας διεθνείς αντιδράσεις για «μεσαίωνα» στα ανθρώπινα δικαιώματα.
Το πιο αστείο είναι ότι η νομοθεσία στηρίζεται σε αμφισβητούμενη μελέτη του συντηρητικού Αμερικανού καθηγητή Μαρκ Ρέγκνερας, που ακόμη και ο ίδιος παραδέχθηκε ότι ο νέος νόμος δεν είναι παρά ένα «πολιτικό σχέδιο» που τελικά θα βλάψει τα ίδια τα παιδιά…


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