In Russia, it’s illegal to discuss homosexuality in the presence of children, and one gay man is facing the consequences after a YouTube interview.
Creators of the Russian YouTube channel Real Talk are facing criminal charges for a video where kids asked the host about being gay. Maxim Pankratov, 22, says he’s gone into hiding after authorities launched an investigation this month, according to CNN.
“There was no discussion of sex,” Pankratov told CNN. “It was about what it’s like to be a gay man in Russia and how I live. We wanted to show society that you can be tolerant.”
According to Svoboda, a Russian news publication, the 12-minute video involved Pankratov speaking to four children aged 6 to 13 years old. The kids asked questions like, “When and how did you understand that you are gay? Did you like girls? Did you quickly get used to the idea that you are gay?” Pankratov responded with answers about his personal experiences.
“It was a normal conversation about my life and they want to put me in jail,” Pankratov told CNN.
In Russia, laws against LGBTQ propaganda merit police force when advocates march or protest publicly. A discriminatory 2013 LGBTQ law prohibits “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations around minors.”