Duolingo Removes LGBTQ Content In Russia

Duolingo Removes LGBTQ Content In Russia

Duolingo has deleted LGBTQ+ content for Russian users after the country officially deemed all content, practices, associations and mentions of LGBTQ+ identities “extremism.” Duolingo, the globally popular language learning app, began to remove content after warnings from Russia’s communication regulator on featuring “non-traditional sexual relations and LGBT propaganda.” 

A spokesperson for Duolingo told Reuters that despite their mission to normalize LGBTQ+ representation in their content “Unfortunately, local laws prohibit us from including certain content in Russia. Duolingo’s mission is to expand access to quality education around the world and we’re committed to maintaining access to our product everywhere that is legal to do so.” 

Over the past year Russia has broadened restrictions on LGBTQ+ rights throughout the country, making it essentially impossible to express any LGBTQ+ identity, openly express allyship, or promote and consume LGBTQ+ media. According to Human Rights Watch, this decision “opened the floodgates to allow arbitrary prosecution of LGBT people and of anyone who defends their rights or expresses solidarity with them.” 

This decision has ultimately led to the banning of LGBTQ+ books, media and Pride flags and symbols, the shuttering of LGBTQ+ rights organizations, and police raids in well-known gay clubs. Participating in or helping finance “extremist” organizations is now punishable by up to 12 years in prison. 

Though Duolingo continues to feature queer content for remaining users around the world, it is yet to be seen whether other companies will also flee the consequences of supporting LGBTQ+ rights globally as Russia works to completely eliminate queer content from its society.

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