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Russian man called 'f*ggot', outed by helpline staff

2017-05-09
A gay man was turned away from a helpline in Russia by an operator who called him a "faggot" then outed him on social media. The unnamed man had called 'FROG', a helpline for those dealing with mental health or psychological issues, in St. Petersburg. After explaining that he was gay and needed help, the operator told the man “This line isn’t for faggots,” and hung up on him. The text on FROG's website reads: “If you’re sad, lonely, and in pain, call us! We will help everyone!” Evidently not ... After the incident, the man got in contact with FROG's director, Alexander Bronshtein, to complain about the homophobic abuse he had received from the operator. However, Bronshtein doubled down on the previous rhetoric, replying: “You were told that [we] don’t work with faggotry and then you were wished all the best. What was rude about this?” He also argued that the Russian word pedorastiya (faggotry) is an acceptable psychological term. The man then reported the incidents to Lena Klimova, an activist and founder of 'Children 404', a counseling group for young LGBT+ Russians. Klimova posted about the man's experience on Facebook, taking aim at FROG and Bronshtein. Bronshtein responded with a now-deleted post on the social network Vkontakte, in which he wrote: “We really don’t treat people for faggotry and this caller was informed of that, and wished all the best. "Except you [Lena Klimova] erased his information for some reason, and left mine. If you’re taking screenshots, then do a full screenshot. You don’t need to hide your friend’s name.” He accompanied the post with uncensored screenshots of his conversation with the man, effectively outing him on social media. The post was removed shortly after, but users had already taken screenshots and criticised Bronshtein for his actions. The centre responded by posting the below video of Russian president Vladimir Putin defending the country's controversial anti-gay 'propaganda' law: More stories: The Daily Express slammed for using air quotes to report Tom Daley and Dustin Lance Black’s wedding Russian media labels new President of France a ‘gay psychopath’