Alexey, a teenage LGBT activist from Saint Petersburg, was shortlisted for prestigious International Children’s Peace Prize, a prize, which is given on an annual basis to a child supporting the rights of children. Alexey was nominated for the prize on the initiative of ADC “Memorial” and this nomination was supported by Russian LGBT Network, Children-404 project, International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH) and other human rights defenders.
Besides Alexey, 13-year old Andrew from Ghana and 18-year old Nekha from the USA were shortlisted, both of them for their active involvement in gathering funds for children and orphans suffering from hunger. Alexey was nominated for the prize for his braveness and readiness to speak out on behalf of LGBT teenagers, who adopted a name “Children-404” in the Russian Federation following introduction of discriminatory law “banning propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations among minors”. Young LGBT persons, who need psychological consultations and moral support the most, were banned from getting any information on the topics of varied gender identities and sexual orientation. More than that, these children were just banned from social life and public debates altogether. Both “Children-404” project and Alexey himself received a high praise for their efforts to claim undeniable value of the rights of children and teenagers, who belong to gender and sexual minorities, as was stressed in the press release distributed by the organizers of International Children’s Peace Prize.
Unfortunately in the Russian Federation the rights of LGBT children are restricted both at the legislative and judicial levels. It is noteworthy that on the same day that the short list of International Children’s Peace Prize was announced, Russian Constitutional Court has failed to detect any violations of the Russian Constitution in the law banning “untraditional sexual relations” for people under 18, thus crossing out all those younger than 18 from those “having rights”. At the same time the Constitutional Court stated that this law “doesn’t create obstacles for LGBT to defend their rights”, if it is not interpreted too broadly. While restricting “broader interpretation” of the law, the court, nonetheless, confirmed legality of discrimination against LGBT teenagers. In this sad and difficult moment nomination of one of the participants of “Children-404” project for an international prize becomes a source of hope for recognition and equal rights for many teenagers.