The Russian embassy in Canada has sparked outrage after tweeting a photo of the pride flag with a red symbol prohibiting it and writing: “family is a man and a woman and children”.
Posted on Friday (25 November), following Russia adopting a “gay propaganda” law prohibiting the promotion of homosexuality the day before, the tweet has been condemned by many who have demanded response and action from the Canadian government.
“It is all about family. Family is a man and a woman and children,” the tweet states.
In response to backlash the embassy has released a statement: “Canada and a range of other States-supporters of the neoliberal agenda are deliberately distorting the reality by conflating the concepts of individual sexual preferences and universal human rights.
“Fortunately, there are no universally acknowledged international documents in place that would establish such a status for any relations that are different from a traditional family structure (a kind reminder that we are considering a natural family of procreation, which refers to a social unit of two male and female parents and their potential children).”
One Twitter user pointed out the reference to “individual preference” against “universal rights”.
They wrote: “Open homophobia by the official Russian embassy handle in Canada. Note the reference to “individual preference” vs “universal rights” – it’s key to what Putin & Xi mean by “multipolarity” – a rejection of universal standards of human rights.”
The statement goes on to claim there is “no discrimination in Russia with respect to the rights of sexual and other kind of minorities”.
It adds: “Individual sexual preferences of adults and details of their relations should remain strictly personal. It should not become a political matter, especially international relations’ agenda topic.”
Montreal city councillor Serge Sasseville said the tweet was “unacceptable”, and “it should be condemned, publicly”.
“I expect that since it’s been issued by an embassy in Ottawa that our minister of foreign affairs Melanie Jolie, and our prime minister Justin Trudeau, will publicly condemn that tweet and reiterate their support for the LGBTQAI+ community because we’re in 2022 and we cannot live in a society where such a publication goes without a reaction from our government.”
Lawyer and former vice president of Pride Montreal, Jean-Sébastien Boudreault, accused the embassy of Russia in Canada of “bullying the LGBTQ community”.
Boudreault said the post was “frustrating”, “disheartening” and he urged Canada to react.
“You probably have LGBTQ Russian people that are seeing this and saying the motherland is saying this against us and that’s probably one of the reasons they left Russia to come to Canada, so we need to think about the LGBTQ community, we need to defend the LGBTQ community and we need to remember that human rights are very fragile,” Boudreault said.