Members of the Russian LGTBI community have taken refuge in Tijuana, Mexico to avoid political persecution undertaken by Vladimir Putin, president of Russia and other authorities of the North of that country.
Sergej Lipnicki, a 36 year old veterinarian from Russia, said that in his native country it is forbidden to be a homosexual, and when homophobic people report it to the authorities, gays, lesbians, transsexuals and bisexuals are expelled from schools, businesses and health centers.
In extreme cases they are taken to jail or even perform a public ceremony in which people with different sexual preferences are tortured.
Therefore, Lipnicki commented that women and men of the LGTBI community pretend to be heterosexual so they can go to work or to college.
“If you go through the streets, people follow you, point you out or call the police. We have to live in a closet to be safe, but that is somehow going against ourselves, because we want to live like normal gay people, without fear, without discrimination, “he said.
Lipnicki and Ihar Tskihanyuk, LGTBI activist, left Russia protected by Amnesty International, who will help them enter the United States with special permission to settle in Los Angeles, California, where, they can live without fear as homosexuals or transsexuals.
Ihar Tskihanyuk said that the authorities in his country have imprisoned him for defending his rights, and has even been forced to wear men’s clothes to go unnoticed.
For 14 days they have taken refuge in the shelter Jardín de Las Mariposas A.C., where the Russians were surprised by the attentions received by the LGTBI community, either in civil associations or nightclubs.
“We do not face discrimination, I think people are a little more tolerant, compared to Russia, but neither is Mexico a safe place for us to live without fear, because we know what the LGTBI people suffer, discrimination and in some cases even murder”, Sergej Lipnicki said about living in Mexico.
The Russian couple is looking forward to enter the United States as soon as possible, where hundreds of civil organizations defend the human rights of gays, lesbians, transsexuals and bisexuals.
According to Sergej Lipnicki and Ihar Tskihanyuk, in the next months more than 100 people from the Russian LGTBI community could arrive in Tijuana to cross into the United States.