Russian LGBT family in ad flees to Spain after receiving death threats
A Russian LGBT family that was featured in an advert was forced to flee their country after receiving homophobic messages and death threats online.
The family of four women had first appeared in an ad for a Russian high-end health food retailer, Vkusvill, called “Recipe for Happiness.”
A 2013 law in Russia bans the “promotion of non-traditional sexual relations to minors.” Western countries have said this law is state-enforced bigotry.
The flight of a Russian LGBT family
The family’s circumstances was reported by journalist and YouTuber Karen Shainyan, who interviewed the family.
In the wake of conservative backlash, the ad was taken down and replaced by pictures of heterosexual families.
Vkusvill issued an public apology, saying the ad “hurt the feelings of a large number of our customers and employees.”
Meanwhile, Shainyan, who reports on LGBT issues on his channel, agreed to show broadcast his interview with them only after they had left Russia.
Shainyan also showed the family– composed of the mother, Yuma, and her adult daughters Mila and Alina, and Alina’s female partner, Ksyusha– boarding a flight to leave the country.
What happened after the advert
Yuma said that while she could ignore the online messages from “haters,” she couldn’t ignore the comments attacking her eight-year old granddaughter from Alina.
“I’m most afraid for my granddaughter,” she told Shainyan.
She added, “I was just knocked back by comments to my granddaughter, where some people wrote that they want to rape her, to kill her, to stab a child who is just sitting and smiling in the photograph.”
Furthermore, she said that, “Comments are just the tip of the iceberg.”
Yuma cited previous anti-LGBT attacks on her, ranging from being doused by masked thugs with chemicals to being threatened by crowds to stab her and set her on fire.
She said, “I don’t want that to happen, I want to protect my family. I don’t want to live like that. I’m tired.”
Russian LGBT family: Safe yet uncertain
Later on, one of the daughters, Mila, posted on Instagram a picture from a balcony in Barcelona, Spain.
“Unfortunately, due to the complicated situation with VkusVill, we have been left without work and without a home,” she said.
She added, “Right now me and my family very much need to get settled in Barcelona. It’s a difficult time for us and we need friends.”
Yuma also posted on Instagram, saying: “We are safe, we are resting. We don’t have to hide our happiness to be a family.”
“A huge thank-you to those who supported us, to those who risked speaking out in our support, and those who supported us personally. Thanks to you, we didn’t give in,” she said.
She declared, “For all of us this was a difficult experience, we’re all in a difficult state of mind. But the sea, sun and kindness are healing us.”