07/24/2013 12:51 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Russia's Gay Struggles Depicted In PSAs For Side By Side Film Festival

Russia's politics of late can be summed up as homophobic at best, between the gay adoption ban and the recent bill signed into law by President Vladimir Putin that allows the arrest of gay or pro-gay citizens and tourists in the country.

Meanwhile, Russia's annual Bok-o-Bok (Side By Side) Festival is looking to change the population's views on homosexuality.

Steve McGinnis, the animator and co-director for two new animated public service announcements airing during the LBGT film festival, says his clips portray fears that linger over the nation's gay citizens everyday. One clip showed an employee being fired over their sexuality, while another visualized the fears of a woman being rejected by her parents after she came out to them. A third PSA is currently in production, hoping to further the country's understanding of what is happening to their gay neighbors.

A gay Russian wore a T-shirt with one of the characters emblazoned during St. Petersburg's Gay Pride event, as seen on the right in this Associated Press photo:

gay russia pride

Though the Side by Side festival has been held every year in St. Petersburg since 2007, an investigation this year by the authorities resulted in the film festival to be labeled a "foreign agent" and be charged 500,000 rubles (roughly $15,500).

To see both PSAs, watch the videos at the top and bottom of this page.



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