Twenty years after homosexuality was decriminalised in Russia, anti-gay legislation is making a rapid comeback, with St Petersburg becoming the latest city to ban "homosexual propaganda".
On Saturday 29th June 2013 over 60 members of the public were arrested simply for taking part in St. Petersburg's gay pride parade.
It is now no longer appropriate that Manchester be twinned with St. Petersburg.
In the UK, with our far more tolerant culture, there is still, sadly, a higher than average rate of suicide and drug use, which is convincingly linked to the often negative experience of being gay in our society.
Now we must think about how the LGBT community in St. Petersburg must feel if this is how the local government is treating them. Think about young gay people, coming to terms with their sexuality and seeing in the news that who they are is apparently so awful that they deserve to be arrested for it.
Manchester's large gay community is something that Manchester should be proud of. Out of respect to the gay community here, we need to symbolically end this connection with St. Petersburg.
Instead of twinning the two cities, links should be established between the gay community in Manchester and the gay community in St. Petersburg as a sign of solidarity and that, perhaps, Manchester City Council could help to facilitate this.
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