TikTok couples living hell after arrest over Putins gay propaganda law

A gay couple, with a huge TikTok following, have been arrested in Russia for allegedly breaching the country’s “anti-gay propaganda” laws.

Russian national Gela Gogishvili, 23, and Chinese national Haoyang Xu, 21, have been together for two years, after meeting on a dating app.

The pair have more than 740K followers on TikTok and 65K followers on Youtube, and share all aspects of their lives and relationships online.

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The couple were approached by police on Wednesday (April 5) at about 1pm local time and they were escorted to the local police station.

According to Newsweek, Xu appeared in court the day after his arrest and was found guilty of positively portraying “non-traditional sexual relationships to minors”.

An offence under Vladimir Putin’s controversial "gay propaganda law”.

The 21-year-old has now been held at a deportation centre and will return to China next week.

His lawyer had tried to argue the couple's social media content did not violate the law as they could not know the age of the people viewing their videos.

Russian-born Gogishvili will also appear before the courts and could face a fine of £994-£1987.

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He told Newsweek the couple plan to appeal Xu's sentence and described the situation as a “living hell”.

Putin passed the “anti-gay” law in 2013, outlawing "the promoting of non-traditional sexual relationships among minors." It also outlawed the rainbow Pride flag.

Putin further ratified a law in December 2022 to ban "gay propaganda" to all people and the discussion of transgender topics to minors.

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The controversial law has been blasted by the LGBT+ community as an attempt to remove representation and prevent issues from being discussed in mass media.

Gogishvili told the publication: "We were very scared … it became a living hell because the impossible happened.

"The policeman told us that it's not that Haoyang didn't have his papers on him but we will be prosecuted for 'gay propaganda' and … Haoyang could be deported”.

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