A Russian lawmaker who heads a parliamentary committee on family and children affairs has called gays "sick" people who "must be cured."
In a televised interview aired on March 5, Tamara Pletnyova also said that the 19th-century prominent Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky also was gay, "but he always hid it and was ashamed of it."
Answering the question of the program's anchor if she would support criminal prosecution of gays, the chairwoman of the Family, Women, and Children Affairs Committee in the lower house of parliament, the State Duma, said: "What to prosecute [them] for? [They] are sick. Cure [them]. I consider [them to be] sick."
Human rights activists say a 2013 law banning the spreading of gay "propaganda" has intensified the hostility members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community in Russia have long suffered.
Pletnyova made headlines in June 2018, as Russia was making final preparations for the World Cup's opening ceremony, when she publicly advised Russian women not to have sex with foreign men during the championship.
She also suggested that should a Russian woman get pregnant, it would be better if the father of the child was "of the same race."
In March 2018, Pletnyova expressed support for comments by Vyacheslav Volodin, the speaker of Russia's lower house of parliament, in which he told female journalists who cover the legislature to change jobs if they face sexual harassment from lawmakers.