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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, December 27 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 52
HRC announces $100,000 contribution to support the Russian LGBT Movement
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HRC announces $100,000 contribution to support the Russian LGBT Movement

HRC's successful 'Love Conquers Hate' campaign announces donation to fund supporting Russian LGBT advocacy in video 'holiday card' to Russia - Matt Damon, Robin Thicke, and Sarah Silverman join campaign

WASHINGTON - Just 50 days from the start of the Sochi Winter Olympics, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, announced its first contribution to the Russia Freedom Fund (www.russiafreedomfund.org) in the amount of $100,000. The announcement is featured in a video holiday card to the Russian LGBT community, compiling support and solidarity for their cause across social media. The video is set to singer/songwriter Ingrid Michaelson's song 'Blood Brothers.'

The donation was made possible because individuals from around the world have joined HRC's 'Love Conquers Hate' campaign, which is raising awareness about the Russian government outlawing even modest support for LGBT equality. The campaign has been bolstered by participation from a diverse group of prominent celebrities, athletes and politicians with Matt Damon, Robin Thicke and Sarah Silverman joining the campaign this week.

'With less than two months until the Sochi Olympic Games, it's time to harness the tidal wave of support for Russia's LGBT community emerging around the world,' said HRC President Chad Griffin. 'Now more than ever, we must expose the Russian government's hateful campaign against its own people and support LGBT Russians enduring oppression and violence every day.'

'We are thankful to HRC for this ground setting donation to support the Russian LGBT movement,' says Anastasia Smirnova, coordinator of the coalition of Russian LGBT organizations. 'While the safety of our community continues to be put at risk, more and more individuals and groups are standing up to defend and promote equality. HRC's support will help this energy last and will contribute to a safer and better life for LGBT people in Russia.'

Today's announced funds will be donated to the Russia Freedom Fund (www.russiafreedomfund.org). The fund seeks to create a safe environment for LGBT people in Russia by supporting local organizations that have been effective at combatting discrimination and violence. The fund is a U.S. tax-deductible vehicle for making financial contributions in support of the LGBT movement in Russia.

'History has demonstrated the power of combining the efforts of courageous activists with the support and resolve of a global movement,' said Kevin Jennings, Executive Director of The Arcus Foundation, speaking on behalf of the Russia Freedom Fund. 'People, institutions and heads of state are coming together to support Russia's LGBT community. We are grateful to have HRC as a partner in the struggle, and especially grateful to the thousands of people spreading the word through their 'Love Conquers Hate' campaign.' (www.russiafreedomfund.org)

This donation was made possible because thousands of individuals from around the world purchased Russian 'Love Conquers Hate' t-shirts and shared photos of themselves in the shirt via social media platforms using the #loveconquershate tag. One hundred percent of net proceeds from the shirt are being used to support the Russian LGBT movement. Madonna recently penned a note encouraging people around the world to join the campaign.

To date, campaign participants include Alan Lowenthal (Rep), Amanda Leigh Dunn, Amanda Von Furrer, Amber Tamblyn, America Ferrera, Ana Matronic, Andrew Rannells, Andy Cohen, Anthony Bourdain, Ben Cohen, Chelsea Handler, Chloe Melas, Chris Seitz, Chuy Bravo, Craig Gibbons, Cyndi Lauper, Dan Bucatinsky, David Cicilline (Rep), Doutzen Kroes, DT Model Management, Joe Slaughter, Dustin Lance Black, Eliot Engel (Rep), Fergie, Francesco Borgato, Gavin Newsom, Gwen S. Moore (Rep), Heather Mitts, Jamie Lee Curtis, Jason Collins, Jay Manuel, Jeri Ryan, Jonah Hill, Jonathan Del Arco, Jozy Altidore, Keke Palmer, Kevin Bacon, Kristen Bell, Kyra Sedgwick, Landon Donovan, Lori Lindsey, Madonna, Maggie Rose, Maria Menounos, Mark Pocan (Rep), Mark Ruffalo, Megan Rapinoe, Michael Buckley, Mya, Nick Youngquest, Perez Hilton, Ricky Martin, Robbie Rogers, Russell Simmons, Sarah Silverman, Shane Britney Crone, Stephanie March, Tam O'Shaughnessy, Taryn Manning, Thomas Roberts, Tim Gunn, Todd Glass and Wentworth Miller.

In June, Russia enacted an 'anti-propaganda' law that outlaws even modest public gestures of support of the LGBT community. Fines for breaking the law are more severe if information promoting equality is distributed through the media or the Internet. Foreigners breaking this law, such as those visiting Russia for the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games, face arrest for up to 15 days followed by deportation. In September, a piece of legislation was proposed that would allow courts to take children away from parents who are LGBT or suspected of being LGBT. This state-sanctioned homophobia contributes to a culture of violence and harassment against the Russian LGBT community that goes unchecked by law enforcement.

The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all. www.hrc.org.

Courtesy of Human Rights Campaign

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