Russia: State-Sponsored Violence & Homophobia

"An unknown [sic] anti-gay activist hits Russian gay and LGBT rights activist Nikolai Alexeyev during an unauthorized gay rights activists rally in central Moscow." Photo credit: Andrey Svitailo, Getty Images

“An unknown [sic] anti-gay activist hits Russian gay and LGBT rights activist Nikolai Alexeyev during an unauthorized gay rights activists rally in central Moscow.” Photo credit: Andrey Svitailo, Getty Images

Russia has a law criminalizing “propaganda” that shows LGBTQIA persons in a positive light. And yes, in this case that final “A” includes jailing allies of equality (those considered “heterosexual” in traditionally-used definitions in our country’s brief history). Anyone who participates in “gayness,” or says it’s pretty OK in some way (so to speak) is to be shut down. Violence? Sure, why not. Go ahead.

Two women holding hands = crime.

Waiving a rainbow flag = crime.

Photo credit: Anton Tushin, Getty Images.

Photo credit: Anton Tushin, Getty Images.

Basically anyone who simply portrays, tweets about, makes status updates regarding, shows support for …  [and so on and so forth] queer individuals is a criminal under Russian law.

Yes:

Do note that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex, perhaps asexual, and most definitely allies who stand for equality within the military-guarded borders of the Russian state can and will be thrown into jail (or worse simply on the streets) for showing themselves or anyone else falling into said categories in healthy, positive ways.

You know, if anyone on Russian soil shows queer persons as we are – primarily normal and good persons just as most other types of people are primarily normal and good (we all have our exceptions) – those “law-breakers” will be thrown in prison.

Foreigner? U.S. Citizen? No problem. The Russians government force doesn’t care. Their new law includes 14-day holds for despicable non-Russians who do any of the above.

Millions of Russians are living in fear of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s hateful regime and its dark ages policies.

Actor, Writer, and Activist Harvey Fierstein calls Russia’s bigoted leader(ship) as it is (yes, bigoted and ignorant – if we may paraphrase) in a New York Times Op-Ed piece:

Getty Images. Image by Olga Maltseva.

Getty Images. Image by Olga Maltseva.

Mr. Putin’s campaign against lesbian, gay and bisexual people is one of distraction, a strategy of demonizing a minority for political gain taken straight from the Nazi playbook. Can we allow this war against human rights to go unanswered? Although Mr. Putin may think he can control his creation, history proves he cannot: his condemnations are permission to commit violence against gays and lesbians.

Yes, it’s true. Want some details:

In May a young gay man was murdered in the city of Volgograd. He was beaten, his body violated with beer bottles, his clothing set on fire, his head crushed with a rock. This is most likely just the beginning.

"Anti-Gay protestors," i.e. State-Approved Gay Bashers. Credit: Olga Maltseva, Getty Images.

“Anti-Gay protestors,” i.e. State-Approved Gay Bashers. Credit: Olga Maltseva, Getty Images.

Mr. Fierstein’s coverage on the issue is very well put together. Putin in Russia, just like opponents of equality in the U.S. who fight against same-sex marriage (you know, fair and equal treatment for all) bases his arguments on a bunch of baseless claims.

Fear mongering. It’s as if opponents of marriage equality have never read a book sometimes, unless it’s by some frightening person with a Fox News program where fact-checking and truth are limited to put it nicely. Spin, spin, spin.

The violence in Russia is not instigating the anger from the world that it should.

HEY WORLD. Get Angry and DO Something!

Please.

This is state-authorized hate crimes.

Anyone else see the soldiers laughing in the background? AP Image by Dmitry Lovetsky.

Anyone else see the soldiers laughing in the background? Hilarious, right? AP Image by Dmitry Lovetsky.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) wrote an important letter to NBCUniversal urging the corporate media giant to do what is required for any responsible media outlet in NBCUniversal’s position to exclusively broadcast coverage of the 2014 Olympiad from Sochi, Russia.

That message? Expose Russia’s shameful new “propaganda” law criminalizing any support for queer equality while covering the games. It sounds like a fantastic recommendation to OutJustice.

In the letter, HRC President Chad Griffin praises NBCUniversal for it’s 100% rating on HRC’s Corporate Equality Index and requests to begin serious discussions about the issue. As the U.S. media outlet with exclusivity rights to air the games, HRC is right.

NBCUniversal can – and must – show the reality of the games for LGBTQIA participants, their coaches, their families, and the public who attend the games. And that says NOTHING for the concern over the millions of Russians living under these inhumane laws. 

These laws criminalize even the most trivial and hard fought rights for LGBTQIA-identified persons. Holding hands? We have our issues, but no one should be jailed in the 21st century for holding hands with their significant other.

Foreigners (that’s us!) could be jailed for 14 days under the new law simply for showing support for LGBTQIA rights. NBCUniversal could even be jailed for broadcasting positive news stories about queer persons.

Equality demonstration in Russia interupted by violence. Credit: Andrey Smirnov, Getty Images

Equality demonstration in Russia interupted by violence. Credit: Andrey Smirnov, Getty Images

And that’s the challenge, friends.

Pull out that commitment to equality, NBC!

Stand with those on your staff who could be jailed for holding hands, for posting a status online that’s pro-equality, or raising a rainbow flag.

Raise it high!

According to Buzzfeed, HRC’s letter is well-aligned with the unveiling of NBC’s coverage plan at the Television Critics Association meeting and lining up its submission to NBCUniversal when “other LGBT activists have called for a boycott of the games.” Well, excellent. We’re glad they are thinking over there at The HRC! In his letter HRC President Chad Griffin writes:

You no doubt agree that it wouldn’t be right to air the opening ceremonies, which is an hours-long advertisement for the host country, without acknowledging that a whole segment of the Russian population — not to mention foreign athletes and visitors — can be jailed for an immutable aspect of their identity.

Thank you HRC and Mr. Griffin for calling it as it is. As for Buzzfeed’s coverage, they smartly point out that:

Although HRC hasn’t formally taken a position on the boycott, Wednesday’s letter to NBCUniversal is a strong sign that HRC is making preparations to address the presentation of the games and not just the pre-games boycott discussion.

Double Excellent. Let’s see some real activism, Community.

Let’s see everyone take a stand on this issue. Each participant in this movement for LGBTQIA equality (that includes you, dear reader) has a place. Sometimes organizations shake things. Sometimes one person does. We all shake in different ways. Some organizations, such as HRC, play a major role in the corporate aspects of The Shake.

How do you shake?

Want one more thing to anger you and show you just how serious this is? 

How about an anti-gay neo-nazi group …

Neo-Nazis are idiots, per usual. Credit: The Advocate

Neo-Nazis are idiots, per usual. Credit: The Advocate

Side note:  How is it that neo-nazis are so ignorant about what the Nazi Regime was all about? How is it that they ignore the vast resources that explain how Russia was not part of the “master race?” Or that this all stemmed from people who raped and pillaged Russia’s ancestor state? Or that Russia then did the same to the German people? Do we read, friends?

… How about an anti-gay neo-nazi group ….

… that tortures BOYS while proudly taking photographs of the nearly naked BOYS with sex toys and crying from being beaten and tortured and posting them on the Internet under the guise of being anti-pedophile (did anyone else note that they are luring BOYS for this abuse?) in Russia.

The Advocate reports they are using a Russian gay hookup website to lure BOYS to be tortured. While naked.

So, Putin’s law now has pedophile neo-nazis torturing Russian kids. And what is Russia doing about it?

… I’m really not clear on that either. Apparently they are busy beating the adults in the streets.

On behalf of the Russian people and our brothers, sisters, and everyone else included in us and with us, let’s shake things up so loudly that those who follow us and benefit from us taking a stand can be proud of what we accomplished.

Deal?!

Sign says, 'Love is stronger than homophobia.'

Sign says, ‘Love is stronger than homophobia.’

2 thoughts on “Russia: State-Sponsored Violence & Homophobia

  1. Pingback: Russia, Hate, Violence, Shame | Hauff [,] Daniel's ...

  2. Pingback: What do YOU think? OutJustice’s New Social Media Plan | OutJustice

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