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Russia's "anti-propaganda" law punishes 9th grader, marks her for life

(Editor's note: Today, Radio Free Europe reports that Russia has reversed the decision to punish the teen for "gay propaganda" after negative publicity. SDGLN is publishing this article by GLAAD because of concerns by the global LGBT community that Russia will still punish this teenager after the Sochi Olympics and after the world's attention wanders elsewhere.)

Russia's anti-propaganda laws have now been used against a ninth grade girl who came out as LGBT. The Moscow Times reported in English, using the Russian-language news site Znak.com as a source.

Last November a girl "openly declared herself to be a person of nontraditional sexual orientation," the local minors' commission said, Znak.com reported. The town's location was not revealed to protect the girl's identity.

During this time, the girl "disseminated information aimed at forming a distorted picture among juveniles of the social equality of traditional and nontraditional sexual relations," the commission said.

As the girl did not sexually assault anyone, authorities decided that the criminal case against her would be dropped, though she will be placed under the supervision of the local juvenile commission.

Journalist and Russian LGBT advocate, Masha Gessen, pointed GLAAD to the story. She explained that the girl would not face a criminal case, but that the "supervision of the local juvenile commission" means the girl's name would be placed on registry, and she will be required to declare this status in the future.

Her brave act of coming out will continue to negatively impact her for the rest of her life.

The girl's name is being withheld to protect her identity. Others who have simply come out have faced job discrimination, harassment, and even assault. The law has already convicted a newspaper who reported on a teacher fired for being gay, and for quoting the teacher as saying, "My very existence is proof being gay is normal." It has also charged the creator of an LGBT youth support web site.

GLAAD has released GLAAD Global Voices: 2014 Sochi Olympics Playbook, a resource guide for journalists covering the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. The Playbook is available in English and Spanish and will later be released in Russian. Throughout the 2014 Winter Olympics, GLAAD will continue working with international LGBT organizations, athletes and LGBT Russians to secure media coverage for the stories of LGBT Russians, their families and the harms facing them in Russia. For more information, visit www.glaad.org/russia.

(Editor's note: This post originally appeared on SDGLN media partner GLAAD.)