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Russian Asylum Seeker Speaks Out

August 14, 2013 Russian Asylum Seeker Speaks Out

Supported by Community Organizers and Pride Toronto


Toronto, August 14, 2013 – Pride Toronto to host Russian asylum seeker Maxim Zhuravlev at a town hall meeting being held by community members and groups on Wednesday evening to show solidarity with the LGBTQ community in Russia in their high-profile struggle for human rights and the freedom to live without fear and violence.

Recent legislative changes in Russia have drawn international attention to this struggle in the lead-up to the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, prompting calls for action, including a boycott of the Olympics and Russian products, or for demonstrations of Pride in Russia in defiance of a law against “propaganda for non-traditional sexual relations.” Pride organizers and participants in Russia have faced extreme violence and arrest.

Zhuravlev, currently a resident of Vancouver, is seeking refugee status in Canada, citing persecution in Russia based on sexual orientation. His story has been featured in Canadian media as attention turns to Canada’s role in defending and protecting the human rights of LGBT refugees.

Zhuravlev said, “I am looking forward to meeting LGBTQ community members in Toronto and sharing my story with them, along with the story of our community in Russia. It is important that we stand together around the world in support of universal human rights.”

Francisco Alvarez, Co-Chair of the Pride Toronto Board of Directors, said, “We are looking forward to meeting Maxim and hearing his first-hand account of why he has made the decision to leave Russia and seek asylum in Canada. Pride Toronto is pleased to invite him to meet our communities and inform our action.”

Sean Hillier, Co-Chair of the Pride Toronto Board of Directors, said, “Pride has invited Maxim to the meeting so that as our communities gather to consider the situation in Russia and plan support, we hear and understand the perspectives of those who are most directly affected by it.”


Pride Toronto

#TOwithRussia Town Hall

Organized by an ad-hoc grassroots community group, with support from


Wednesday, August 14, 2013


7:00 p.m.


519 Church Street Community Centre, Toronto

Download the Media Release (PDF; 452 Kb)

Download the Media Advisory (PDF; 266 Kb)

About Pride Toronto and WorldPride 2014 Toronto

Pride Toronto is the not-for-profit organization that hosts the city’s Pride Festival, an annual event in downtown Toronto during the last week of June and one of the premier arts and cultural festivals in Canada. It is also one of the largest Pride celebrations in the world with an estimated attendance of over one million people. It celebrates the history, courage, diversity and future of Toronto's LGBTTIQQ2SA* communities.

WorldPride 2014 Toronto (WP14TO) is an international celebration incorporating activism, education, and the history and culture of global LGBTTIQQ2SA* communities.

WP14TO is the first WorldPride celebration ever held in North America, and the 4th such festival in the world. WorldPride brings people together from around the world to honour our past, celebrate the present, and inspire a better future for LGBTTIQQ2SA* communities everywhere.

WorldPride 2014 Toronto is presented by Pride Toronto, producer of Canada’s largest annual festival of LGBTTIQQ2SA* culture and human rights, under license from InterPride.

*LGBTTIQQ2SA is an abbreviation used to represent a broad array of identities such as, but not limited to, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, transgender, intersex, queer, questioning, two-spirited, and allies.

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