A recent report from the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism (GPAHE) has shed light on a disconcerting development involving a Russian organization. Termed a “major vector” for anti-LGBTQ+ hate, Science for Truth (Наука за правду in Russian) has been identified by GPAHE as a significant disseminator of lies, misinformation, and pseudoscience targeting the LGBTQ+ community worldwide.
Within Russia, Science for Truth has actively lobbied for increased restrictions on LGBTQ+ rights, censorship of LGBTQ+ content online, and limitations on gender-affirming healthcare. The group has also launched attacks on pro-LGBTQ+ and pro-sex-education researchers and supports classifying LGBTQ+ activists as “foreign agents” in collaboration with the government.
Outside of Russia, Science for Truth’s influence is expanding through its website, Telegram channel, and Russian social media platform VK. Particularly concerning is GPAHE’s discovery that the group’s website consistently ranks highly in search results for harmful and debunked “conversion therapy” practices, particularly in non-English languages. Furthermore, the website appears as a top search result for LGBTQ+ issues in many countries, despite featuring content deemed dehumanizing by GAPHE.
Science for Truth’s material includes derogatory descriptions of LGBTQ+ individuals as “pedophiles,” “homofascists,” and potential terrorists. One post on the group’s site even makes the bizarre claim that “anti-sperm bodies…formed in sodomites and homosexuals” can lead to “autoimmune infertility, miscarriages, cancer in children, and DNA destruction.”
The group purports to have a mission to “disseminate facts deliberately kept silent by the leaders of the LGBT movement,” ostensibly to protect citizens from what they perceive as a destructive lifestyle. However, according to GPAHE, many of Science for Truth’s members and contributors remain anonymous, with ties to anti-LGBTQ+ and antisemitic propaganda, conspiracy theories, American anti-LGBTQ+ hate groups, “conversion therapy” clinics, and questionable scientific publications. This revelation led to a ban on an associated user by the Russian Wikipedia page in 2018.
Despite its troubling activities and misinformation, Science for Truth has managed to extend its global reach by translating its anti-LGBTQ+ propaganda into over 18 major languages, including less moderated ones like Serbian, Georgian, and Hungarian. In July 2023 alone, approximately 15,000 unique visitors accessed the group’s website, emphasizing the urgent need to address this concerning development in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights.