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Russian Website Turns Homophobic Violence Into A “Game”

A new Russian website has marked accused homosexuals to be victims in a violent and twisted game…

A new Russian website has turned homophobia into a violent game. The website, entitled ‘Saw’, encourages local people to identify alleged homosexuals through photos and personal information, in order for them to be targeted in an anti-LGBT manhunt.

The website offers its supporters a database of accused homosexuals for a fee of 200 Rubles. In order to be removed from the database, individuals must pay a significantly higher fee of 1500 Rubles.

The website steals its name from the horror movie franchise of the same name.

In the week since the launch of the website, three men have been subject to cases of violence. The targets reported their situations to the Russia LGBT Network, also mentioning that more may have experienced similar cases of violence but are too afraid to speak out.

Mikhail Tumasov, the chairperson of the Russia LGBT Network, says the website is part of an anti-LGBT trend in Russia. The website also makes reference to the homophobic trend in Chechnya which began in February 2017. Waves of homophobic attacks, arrests, and disappearances have been reported over the year, in what Saw describes as ‘Chechnya’s Revenge.’

“I’ve never seen anything like this… The killing and torturing of gay people; they call it a game,” said Tumasov, also mentioning that the violent trend is supported by Russia’s silence on the issue. In 2013, President Vladimir Putin signed the ‘Gay Propaganda Law’ which has forced the LGBT community to live in fear as a result.

Saw has since been blocked from public access, but still has a presence on social media. The waves of attacks have been identified in Ufa and Samara but fears of the ‘game’ spreading may incite violence across the country.

Tumasov has expressed concern for the attendees of the up-coming 2018 World Cup in Russia.

“Some of the fans could be simply LGBT friendly, they don’t have to be gay, they could be straight and could behave freely. And if there is suspicion they might be followed,” said Tumasov, also warning visitors to Russia to be weary of online invitations for dates, as they may be setups for violence.

The Russian LGBT Network, alongside other organizations, are attempting to offer protection for victims of these heinous acts, and are pressing lawmakers to stand up to the violence.

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