Article 6.21 is a short animated documentary film that examines the state of censorship around queerness in Russia today and its effects on personal lives in the queer community.

Twenty years after Russia decriminalized homosexuality, on June 30th in 2013, President Vladimir Putin signed Article 6.21 “for the Purpose of Protecting Children from Information Advocating for a Denial of Traditional Family Values”, also known as the “Gay Propaganda Law”. Its broad and ambiguous wording allows the government significant leeway in deciding what kind of public queerness is punishable.

In 2020 Russia passed multiple constitutional amendments that affect many areas of Russia’s social and political landscape. The Family Code Amendment has lawfully defined “family” as a union between a man and a woman. It stigmatizes gay people and leads to an increase of and justification for homophobic violence.

In the wake of recent violence and censorship, Article 6.21 brings together four subjects from the targeted community that won’t be silenced. The story unfolds through a series of virtual interviews that explore how the so called “Gay Propaganda Law” affects everyday life of queer people in Russia. What is the border between public and private? When visible queerness may be criminalized, is private transgression allowed? What tactics do Russian queers implement to resist censorship and maintain visibility?

The subjects of the documentary address these questions as they reflect on their pasts and current struggles.

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By mike