Russian organic food retailer VkusVill has featured an LGBT family in its new promotional material this week, defying the country’s law against “gay propaganda toward minors.”
As part of a series of health-conscious families, VkusVill spotlights a “matriarch” Yuma, her partner Zhenya and two daughters Mila and Alina, who practice ethical veganism, support fair trade and provide shelter to LGBT people struggling to find acceptance in their own families.
“We believe not featuring the families of our real customers would be hypocritical,” VkusVill said, warning readers to “weigh all the pros and cons” before continuing further.
The popular retail chain marked its June 30 promotional piece with an “18+” label to comply with the anti-LGBT propaganda law.
“Family is blood ties or a stamp in a passport. Let’s rethink this. In the 21st century, it’s primarily people who love us, those who will always shield us, people with whom we go through life together,” the promotion says.
Law enforcement authorities, who usually file misdemeanor charges against violators — the most recent of which were the authors of a Dolce & Gabbana Instagram ad showing kissing same-sex couples — have not yet commented on VkusVill’s publication.
Notorious anti-gay St. Petersburg lawmaker Vitaly Milonov took to social media to condemn the “pagan” ad.
Other social media users — which the MBKh Media news website reported swarmed VkusVill’s social media after a notorious anti-LGBT hate group reposted the article — posted threats against the chain.
Western countries and human rights activists have criticized Russia’s 2013 “gay propaganda” law as well as 2020 constitutional changes that contain a clause defining marriage as between a man and a woman only.