Moving Video & Other Updates on the Olympics & LGBT Rights in Russia
The organization All Out has posted this video on YouTube, calling on the International Olympic Committee to “honor its principles and condemn discrimination.” The video’s message refers primarily to the anti-gay censorship law in Russia, which bans “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations” among minors. The law is widely understood to ban any LGBT-supportive expression in places where children may be present, which is basically any public place—and schools, of course. Russia will host the Olympics in Sochi next year.
As I’ve argued in other posts, Russia’s “propaganda” law purportedly aims to protect precisely the same group that it most harms: youth. The law has already encouraged violent vigilantism targeting LGBT teenagers.
The European Court of Human Rights condemned Russia’s suppression of LGBT-supportive speech in a case involving LGBT demonstrations a few years ago, but that court ruling appears to have had little lasting effect. (I discussed that ruling in some detail in a 2012 post, which also highlighted Madonna’s pro-gay advocacy in St. Petersburg.)
Additional stories about Russia & LGBT human rights:
Russian Anti-LGBT Activists Humiliate South African Student (BuzzFeed, Nov. 5, 2013). (Warning: Disturbing content.)
- Dutch say Russian gay rights violations may warrant asylum (Reuters Nov. 5, 2013). The article quotes the Dutch foreign minister’s statement in a letter to the Russian parliament that “[t]he anti-homosexuality propaganda law has a stigmatising and discriminatory affect and contributes to a climate of homophobia.”
- Stars Join T-Shirt Protest of Russia’s Anti-Gay Law (NBC Nov. 4, 2013). You can get your own t-shirt from the Human Rights Campaign in English, Spanish, or Russian. (100% of net proceeds will go to LGBT advocates in Russia.)
- Amnesty International Decries Attack on LGBT Activists in St. Petersburg ([Link has broken] The Moscow Times, Nov. 5, 2013). The Human Rights Campaign discusses the same attack here.
- Russian gay-rights activists meet Maine counterparts (Portland Press Herald Nov. 4, 2013).
- Glee Is Considering Storyline Move to Russia (E! Oct. 30, 2013).
- Putin Says Gay Athletes and Fans Welcome at Sochi Olympics (Slate Oct. 28, 2013). (Here’s a similar story from BBC.) Both stories quote Russian President Putin’s claim that “”We will do everything to make sure that athletes, fans and guests feel comfortable at the Olympic Games regardless of their ethnicity, race or sexual orientation.” They’ll do everything? Like maybe repeal the anti-gay law? Probably not. I suppose “everything” mean something considerably less than “everything”? (I’m curious whether he said this in English or in Russian. If you have the original quote or a different translation, let me know.)
- Discredited U.S. Anti-Gay Activist Addresses Russian Parliamentarians Over “Family Values” (BuzzFeed Oct. 28, 2013). The BuzzFeed story refers to disgraced activist and researcher Paul Cameron, who was long ago expelled from the American Psychological Association and censured by the American Sociological Association. And he’s not the only anti-LGBT American activist to encourage discriminatory legislation in Russia. For additional reports, check out Katie McDonough’s piece in Salon from early last month, How America’s right wing helped Russia craft its anti-gay laws, or watch this segment of Rachel Maddow’s show (via Towleroad), also from last month. The organization Truth Wins Out also recently looked into this issue, posting The American Religious Right, Having Lost At Home, Sets Its Sights On Russia on October 25.
- Gay protesters interrupt Princeton Club “invest in Moscow” meeting (AmericaBlog Oct. 28, 2013). The response from those attending the meeting is disappointing, to say the least.
- IOC says Russia’s anti-gay laws don’t violate Olympic charter (OutSports Sept. 27, 2013). As Chad Griffin of the Human Rights Campaign notes, “If [Russia's anti-gay] law doesn’t violate the IOC’s charter, then the charter is completely meaningless.”
- Finally, it’s worth highlighting that, as terrible as Russia’s laws are, there is much work to be done in other parts of the world as well. Over the summer, BuzzFeed summarized anti-gay laws in 76 other countries.