Two gay dads forced to flee Russia say they’re “an ordinary family” but feared their adopted children would be removed by homophobic authorities.
Andrei Vaganov and Yevgeny Yerofeyev (pictured) married in Denmark in 2016. Prior to the marriage, Vaganov legally adopted the couple’s two boys. The couple have been raising the boys, now 12 and 14, for over a decade.
But when Russian authorities discovered the boys were being raised by two men, they launched a criminal case. The officials targeted the social workers who allowed the adoptions, accusing them of “negligence” and violating Russia’s “gay propaganda” law.
The couple weren’t facing charges at the time, but they feared Russian authorities would take away the children as a result of the investigation.
Now the couple have told German broadcaster Deutsche Welle they have had to flee Russia.
“I left the country for two reasons,” Vaganov told DW. (The outlet published photos of the couple.)
“Firstly, because of the idea that my children could end up in an orphanage.
“Secondly, because I was told directly that I would, in any case, be arrested for seducing minors.”
After one of the boys told hospital staff he had two dads, he was subjected to an examination to determine if he had been sexually abused.
Vaganov said he had also been accused by authorities of murdering his children.
“The public officials said, ‘Bring them to us and prove that they are alive.’ I refused,” he said.
“Several lawyers have confirmed that the authorities could take the children away from me.”
The family has been forced to remain outside of Russia in an undisclosed location.
Russia’s homophobic ‘gay propaganda’ law oppresses LGBTIQ people
Russian authorities use the country’s homophobic “gay propaganda” law to oppress the country’s LGBTIQ community.
The law bans people from exposing children to so-called “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships”.
And human rights groups say the law has caused an increase in homophobic vigilantism in the country.
The country’s LGBTIQ community was rocked by the violent murder of activist Yelena Grigoriyeva last month.
The Russian activist’s name had appeared on a hate website listing LGBTIQ people and supporters.
The website, themed after the Saw franchise of horror films and recently pulled offline, encouraged vigilantes to hunt and torture those listed.
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