By Horaci Garcia Marti and Nacho Doce
BARCELONA (Reuters) – A Russian family who fled their country after receiving anti-gay messages and online death threats for appearing in a supermarket advertisement said their ordeal was worth it because it helped heighten the profile, albeit briefly, of the LGBT + community.
Yuma Yuma, a 49-year-old psychologist who has a female partner, appeared with her two adult daughters, Mila and Alina, and Alina’s fiancee in a promotional article on the website of food retailer Vkusvill. He portrayed women in a kitchen saying they liked the food in the store.
“Judging by what people write to me or tell me, the image they saw of our family gave them hope. And hope, in our situation, is very important,” he said. Yuma told Reuters in Spain, where the family is considering seeking asylum.
Yuma, her two daughters and her 8-year-old granddaughter left Moscow in early August after receiving online messages containing threats of rape and death. One featured a photo of a bloodied ax and their home address was also posted online, they said.
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They now live in an apartment outside of Barcelona that has been loaned to them by a supporter for a month.
The ad made no reference to their sexuality, but anti-gay groups called for an investigation and a boycott of Vkusvill. The company initially defended the article, but then deleted it from its website and issued an apology. The article originally appeared with an â18+â warning indicating that it should not be read by children.
A 2013 Russian law, decried by Western countries, prohibits the âpromotion of non-traditional sexual relations with minorsâ. Last year, the government defined marriage in the constitution as only between a man and a woman.
Mila, who previously worked as a director for an online education company, said the announcement broke new ground in Russia.
âThis ad is a huge success even though it gave us problems,â she said. “When we have shown that we are a family, a real big family, with children, a wife, dogs and cats … we show that LGBT people can be a normal family, a good neighbor.”
(Written by Andrei Khalip; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)
Copyright 2021 Thomson Reuters.