Gays are often attacked and ridiculed on the streets of Russia and therefore many live in secret. In the last few years, mostly due to the demands and openness of younger generations, Russian society is slowly becoming more tolerant of LGBT people.
The Russian slang term for a gay man is "blue" (goluboy) and "pink" (rozovaya) for lesbians.
Gay Rights in Russia:
Russian President Boris Yeltsin and Russian officials decriminalized homosexuality in April of 1993, following the lead of post-Soviet republics Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia, and Belarus. The move was necessary to gain Western support and to become a member of the Council of Europe. Prior to 1993, same-sex acts were punishable by prison terms of up to five years through Article 121 of the Russian criminal code. Gays and lesbians were also subjected to torture and psychiatric treatment. Today, being gay or lesbian in Russia is no longer illegal, but still considered a "perversion".
Government Opinion of Gays:
In February 2007, Mayor Yuri Luzhkov banned what was to be the first gay pride parade in Moscow, claiming gays are unnatural and "satanic". In response, gay rights groups held the parade anyway. The illegal festival ended in violence. Near 100 religious and nationalist extremists attacked festivals participants and 200 gays were also arrested for violating the ban.
Weeks before the festival, 39 right-wing and religious activists were arrested for picketing and shouting slurs at patrons leaving a gay nightclub.
Gay Marriage in Russia:
Same-sex marriage is illegal in Russia. Marriage traditions are heavily influenced by the Russian Orthodox Church, which sees homosexuality as a perversion.
Gay Adoption in Russia:
For the same aforementioned reasons, gay and lesbian couple adoption is not allowed. In addition, the State Duma makes intercountry adoption very difficult.
HIV in Russia:
According to About.com HIV/AIDS, "Russia is in the midst of an HIV epidemic expanding at a frightening pace." Read more in HIV Around the World - The Russian Federation.