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Putin ‘definitely’ not homophobic, supports LGBT rights

The Russian president said some very unexpected stuff in a recent interview with CBS

So it turns out that Vladimir Putin actually really doesn't mind if you're gay. That's right – despite banning gay emojis, cancelling Russia's only LGBT film festival and banning trans people from driving – the Russian president is absolutely cool with LGBT people. No, really!

Speaking in an interview with American channel CBS on Sunday night, Putin claimed that homophobia in Russia was basically just a big ol' myth, and that media reports had been “deliberately exaggerated”. He then went on to challenge anti-gay laws in the United States – saying they were just as bad, if not worse, then the ones in his country.

“The problem of sexual minorities in Russia had been deliberately exaggerated from the outside for political reasons, I believe, without any good basis,” he said. “It’s well known that in four states in America, homosexual orientation is a crime... It’s not completely removed from American legislation, but we don’t have. I definitely condemn that.” Btw, it's worth noting now that these statements aren't technically true: the laws in those four states were scrapped in 2003. 

Mr Putin then went on to say that he does not believe in the persecution of any minority, adding: “I believe there should not be any criminal prosecution or any other prosecution or infringement of people’s rights on the basis of their race, ethnicity, religious or sexual orientation.”

“We have no persecution at all. People of non-traditional sexual orientation work, they live in peace, they get promoted, they get state awards for their achievements in science and arts or other areas. I personally have awarded them medals.”

Confused? Well that's because this all completely clashes with the recent introduction of Russia's gay “propaganda” law – something Putin signed back in 2013 to prevent promotion of “non-traditional sexual relationships” to minors. 

“I don’t see anything un-democratic in this legal act,” he said, when asked to explain why the controversial law had been introduced. “I believe we should leave kids in peace. We should give them a chance to grow, help them to realise who they are and decide for themselves. Do they consider themselves a man or a woman? A female? A male? Do they want to live in a normal, natural marriage or a non-traditional one?”

“I don’t see here any infringement on the rights of gay people,” he concluded. “In Russia, there are equal rights for everyone.”