ST. PETERSBURG, Russia—Dozens of young people were singing lyrics by a local band on Palace Square: “We’ll be together, like Sid and Nancy, we’ll never live long enough to be pensioners.”

The warm July night was young. In spite of the dark context of the song, people looked happy. The wind played with a young woman’s rainbow-dyed hair, while she was kissing her girlfriend. That scene was hardly unusual, even in Russia, where authorities ban what they call “gay propaganda,” same-sex marriage and even the rainbow itself. 

Liza, who is 21, said she felt much happier once she dyed her hair in rainbow colors. “This is who I am, I am a lesbian,” she said. “I don’t think any banning makes sense—nobody could delete the rainbow symbol from the walls of kindergartens, or from every box of colored pencils. The rainbow will come over the Kremlin and make…

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