The August 9 Antwerp kiss-in (Pic: @Bouska)

The August 9 Antwerp kiss-in (Pic: @Bouska)

Have your lip balm and breath freshener standing by! A kiss-in at the Russian embassy in Pretoria is taking place this Friday to protest against the Russian government’s oppressive anti-gay laws.

Organised by Johannesburg Pride, the event is intended to “show kinship with the Russian LGBTIAQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Asexual and Queer) community who are being degraded and dehumanised for simply being themselves”.

Members of South Africa’s own LGBTIAQ community have been urged to gather outside the embassy at lunchtime and kiss another member of the same sex.

Dubbed “You’re in our thoughts – to Russia, with love,” the event will take place from 12.30pm to 13.30pm on Friday 23 August at 361 Brooks Street, Menlo Park, Pretoria.

Similar kiss-in protests against Russia’s gay propaganda law have been recently staged outside Russian embassies in Antwerp and Tel Aviv.

Other more traditional protests have taken place in cities including London, Edinburgh, New York and Stockholm.

The Russian gay propaganda law aims to “protect” minors from exposure to any and all information about homosexuality. It effectively bars any public displays of, or support for, homosexuality in public, on television, in print or on the internet.

Recent polls have shown that the Russian public overwhelming backs the recently enacted law.

The passing of the law has led to a growing boycott of Russian products by gay and lesbian people around the world as well as calls for a boycott of the Winter Olympic Games in the Russian city of Sochi next year.

President Putin also recently signed a law banning foreign gay and lesbian couples and any individuals living in countries that have legalised same-sex marriages from adopting Russian children to avoid them experiencing “complexes, emotional suffering and stress”.

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