QUEER VOICES
03/11/2013 01:52 pm ET | Updated Feb 02, 2016

Agens, Russian Lesbian Magazine, Launches Despite 'Gay Propaganda' Laws

Russia’s pending "gay propaganda" legislation hasn’t stopped an all-new lesbian magazine from launching.

As RIA Novosti reports, activists have launched an independent quarterly magazine called Agens, which is currently on stands.

The defying publication is described as “A Magazine About Women for Women,” and its name apparently translates “driving force” in Latin. The print magazine comes with a disclaimer that it’s only for adults, according to the report, and as such is able to circumnavigate the controversial "gay propaganda" laws which ban the "promotion" of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) lifestyles to minors.

“The LGBT community has to deal with an information blackout,” Editor-In-Chief Milena Chernyavskaya is quoted as saying. “Russian gay men and lesbians don’t know each other and think that they cannot be happy, because everyone around them abuses them.”

Still, not everyone is thrilled by the launch. "The magazine may be legal but we need to watch that this filth does not fall into the hands of minors," St. Petersburg MP Vitaly Milonov said, according to the Daily Mail.

The first issue of the magazine features coming out stories and features on filmmaking, studying abroad, local businesses and androgynous women’s clothing in 120 pages. In addition to being Russia’s first lesbian magazine, it’s the only local LGBT publication in print. Kvir, a Russian gay men’s magazine, previously issued hard copies but is only digital at present

Last month, Russian officials reportedly rejected an application for a Pride House at the 2014 Olympic Village in Sochi.

In what has been deemed an attempt to boost support for President Vladimir Putin, the Russian parliament backed the the gay propaganda legislation in January, Reuters reports.

Among those to decry the move was U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland, who told Reuters, "We are deeply concerned by this draft legislation in Russia that severely restricts freedom of expression and assembly for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals -- and indeed for all Russians."

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