Although same-sex sexual activity between consenting adults in private was decriminalized in ,  homosexuality is disapproved of by most Russians, and same-sex couples and households headed by same-sex couples are ineligible for the legal protections available to opposite-sex couples. There are currently no separate laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation in Russia. Transgender people are allowed to change their legal gender following sex reassignment surgery ; however, there are currently no laws prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity or expression and recent laws could discriminate against transgender residents. Homosexuality has been declassified as a mental illness since and although gay and lesbian individuals are legally allowed to serve openly in the military, there is a de facto " Don't ask, don't tell " policy. Russia has long held strongly conservative views regarding homosexuality, with recent polls indicating that a majority of Russians are against the acceptance of homosexuality and have shown support for laws discriminating against homosexuals.
In the first major court battle for gay activists who have contested the law, the court found in favor of three gay activists who claimed the law violated the rights to freedom of expression and prohibition of discrimination under the European Convention on Human Rights. Over the course of several years, Nikolai Alexeyev, Nikolai Bayev and Alexei Kiselyov have staged pickets to promote gay rights and unsuccessfully applied for permission to hold gay pride parades in Russia. The law has been condemned as an outright ban on any public discussions of homosexuality while authorities were defending it, citing the interests of children. Homosexuality was decriminalized in Russia in , but anti-gay sentiment remains strong.
Russian LGBT activists describe victimisation, repression … and hope
Russian police have detained LGBT activists attempting to raise awareness about the persecution of gay men in Chechnya. Images shared on Twitter showed activists lying on the road pretending to be dead, with fake blood smeared across their faces and covered with rainbow and Chechen flags. A separate group of gay-rights protesters were detained with placards that called for the Chechen leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, to be tried at the International Court of Justice in The Hague. The action was in protest at the systemic persecution of gay men in the Russian republic of Chechnya. More than men have been rounded up and detained in secret prisons by authorities in recent weeks, with many beaten and tortured, the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta claimed.
Following what he described as months of harassment by police, and expulsion from the university in his hometown of Pyatigorsk, the LGBT activist bought a one-way ticket to Morocco with a stopover in Amsterdam, where he got off the plane and requested asylum. Speaking to The Moscow Times at an immigration center in rural Holland, Artyom, 20, said he feels safe in his new country. He has been granted Dutch residence status and is looking forward to attending his first Pride parade this weekend in Amsterdam. The group, inspired by the "Saw" horror movie franchise, calls for violence against members of the Russian LGBT community and posts their private information on social media, including their addresses and phone numbers.