Barbie Breakout, a well-known German drag queen and DJ, sewed her mouth shut to protest Russian anti-gay laws.

The laws, signed in recent weeks by Russian President Vladimir Putin, prohibit gay and lesbian couples from adopting Russian-born children and the public promotion of gay rights. The nation's “gay propaganda” law prohibits the positive portrayal of gay men and lesbians in a venue where children might be present, effectively outlawing everything from Gay Pride marches to the simple act of wearing a rainbow pride pin in public.

In a video posted on YouTube titled Open Your Mouth, Breakout, without saying a word, takes a needle and thread and begins sewing her mouth shut. In a voice over, a narrator discusses the discrimination LGBT people face in Russia and urges viewers to “open your mouth.”

Speaking to German daily Die Welt, Breakout said: “The pain I felt inside when I had to see in the media what is happening in Russia was greater than the physical pain of the needle. My partner held the camera while I did it. But he couldn't look. In my youth I had more holes in an ear than through my mouth in this performance. Apart from a small bruise on my left upper lip, everything has healed up again. It was about symbolism, not about self-harm.”

(The video – which is graphic and may be inappropriate for some viewers – is embedded on this on page. Visit our video library for more videos.)