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New LGBTQ+ micronation seeks citizens

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Image courtesy of Rainbow Republic
Image courtesy of Rainbow Republic

As communications technology advances, the world is becoming more "global" every year, but not always more progressive. LGBTQ people are in a struggle worldwide to keep what rights they have, and ensure that future generations have better ones.

In service of that goal, a small group of international citizens have formed the Rainbow Republic, an online micronation for LGBTQ people and their allies, offering citizenship, marriage certificates, business registration, and more.

A micronation forms when a group or individual formally claims a kind of sovereignty over a space, whether it's physical or digital. They differ from true secessionist movements by the way more widely recognized powers respond: indifference, in most cases, though micronations can make for good tourism.

But a lack of recognition by the United Nations never stopped the communities of independent blogs and online forums from having an impact on the world, for better or for worse. And the Rainbow Republic promises more than a forum, on its own, ever could.

On the Republic's webpage, the words "CITIZENSHIP," "MARRIAGE," and "BUSINESS" are displayed boldly at the top. As a "Rainbownian," the site says, you can benefit from a zero tax rate, and keep your current citizenship while you're at it.

Image courtesy of Rainbow Republic  

Before you start to drool, though, know that only adults with the nation's same democratic and pro-LGBTQ+ values can apply. (Those values can be reviewed on the nation's website.) More importantly, those interested should know that the Republic will not save them from having to pay rent on that empty office in an overseas tax haven. The Republic can't protect you from the laws of your country of residence — at least, not yet.

But it can acknowledge your identity, sexuality, love for others, and livelihood in a way many countries with United Nations recognition don't. A global community can offer support all over the world. It even has a leg up over some progressive countries, too, in that it allows marriages between more than two people.

It's understandable to wonder, of course, how useful a document from an online country would be, beyond affirmations and gag gifts. Many micronations of the past and present have been formed for laughs — or for tax evasion — but activism has been a big reason too. Many founders of micronations would probably argue that borders and statehood are shams to begin with, social constructs, and so on.

Rainbownian Secretary of State Dimitri Shikhov had a lot more to say on the matter.

"The Rainbow Republic is definitely not a joke," said Shikhov, 33, in an email. "We are very serious about creating an independent LGBTQ community, but, of course, at the same time we are realistic, and we understand pretty well that we have few chances of getting physical territory and wide recognition in the near future."

Shikhov's hopes for the far future are grand, though. "The best-case scenario in my view is that one day the Rainbow Republic will really get a physical territory [and] recognition from macrostates and will become a comfortable and safe home for thousands (or maybe even millions?) of LGBTQ people and their supporters, with a developed market economy and effective political system."

Speaking of the economy, right now the Republic has plans to start its own cryptocurrency, dubbed Rainbow Coin. But it accepts all forms of currency, whether crypto or fiat.

Shikhov acknowledged that the nation's goals might shift with future elections; the Republic is structured as a parliamentary democracy, so after his first four-year term, he could be voted out.

In the meantime, the cabinet seems focused on attracting citizens, raising funds for contests and charity events, and building a lasting global LGBTQ community.

"Many people around the world, especially among the LGBTQ community, are discriminated [against] and betrayed by their states," Shikhov said. "Many have to move abroad or are deeply dissatisfied with their home countries."

Shikhov himself is based in the Republic of Georgia, but he founded the Rainbow Republic partly out of his frustations with Russia, his country of origin. Discussions of geopolitics and the possibility of a micronation, he said, had been floating around in his circles for several years. The Russian invasion of Ukraine in February convinced him to take more "practical steps."

"At this moment I understood that I can and should create a safe community for people who share similar values and ideas, who are probably disappointed in macrostates and look for more democratic and efficient institutions," Shikhov said.

Currently, no other active micronation has a focus on LGBTQ interests. And the only way this one can succeed is with voters invested in shaping its future. There's currently a processing fee for all the country's forms, mainly to keep the site running, Shikhov says. But the cabinet is discussing waiving them for a time, to bring more people in. For those who can't afford it now, Shikhov assures that asylum is a possibility.

You can learn more about the Rainbow Republic's history, laws, economy, and benefits at https://rainbowrepublic.world/index/.