Gay Propaganda Law Russia – It’s Time To Unite With Russia’s LGBT Citizens

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Gay propaganda law Russia protest march

Photo Credit: valya v on Flickr

Russian President Vladimir Putin has declared a war on homosexuality and so far the world has stood by in silence.

The international community must send a clear message to Mr. Putin that the gay propaganda law Russia has introduced must be reversed, or face a worldwide boycott of all Russian interests.

On June 11th this year, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed an anti-gay bill, classifying “homosexual propaganda” as pornography. The law was passed unanimously by the Russian parliament (436-0), with just one deputy abstaining from voting on the bill.

The law is broad and vague, meaning that even a teacher or parent who tells their child that homosexuality is normal, or anyone who makes pro-gay statements deemed accessible to someone underage, can now be arrested and fined.

Even a judge, lawyer or lawmaker cannot publicly argue for tolerance of homosexuality in Russia, without the threat of punishment. This law was just the beginning…


Gay Propaganda Law Russia – The Laws In Brief

On June 11th, as outlined above, the gay propaganda bill was signed into law by Vladimir Putin.

On June 30th, with just six months to go before Russia is due to host the 2014 Winter Olympics, Mr. Putin also signed a law allowing Russian police to arrest tourists and foreign nationals they suspect of being homosexual, lesbian or “pro-gay” and detain them for up to 14 days.

On July 3rd, the Russian leader signed a law banning the adoption of Russian-born children by gay couples and any couple/single parent living in a country with marriage equality.

Finally, it is rumored that Mr. Putin is about to sign an edict that would remove children from their own families if the parents are either gay or lesbian or suspected of being gay or lesbian.


Gay Propaganda Law Russia – A Background

Why is Vladimir Putin so determined to criminalise homosexuality in Russia? As far back as 2007, Putin has been on record blaming Russia’s homosexual population for the country’s low birth rate.

Decades of relatively low birth rates threaten Russia with an ageing population and economic decline. In an op-ed piece for LA Times in June, Historian Patricia Herlihy wrote that…

The implication in Russia’s recent actions is that homosexuality, divorce and abortion are central factors in Russia’s weak birthrate and high rate of early death.

Choosing these targets plays to popular sentiment and reinforces the dogma of an increasingly vocal Russian Orthodox Church.

Herlihy also points out that from the time of Stalin through the collapse of the Soviet Union, homosexuality was illegal in Russia, and many Russians still view it is a disorder.

According to recent research, public opinion in Russia tends to be among the most hostile toward homosexuality in the western world, and the level of intolerance has been rising.

2013 survey found that 74% of Russians said homosexuality should not be accepted by society (up from 60% in 2002), compared to 16% who said that homosexuality should be accepted by society.


High Profile Advocates Of Civil Rights For Russia’s LGBT Citizens

On July 4th, Oscar winning actress Tilda Swinton posed for a photograph, posted on Twitter by her representative, flying a rainbow flag in front of the Kremlin, in solidarity with the LGBT community.



Openly gay British actor and comedian Stephen Fry recently travelled to Russia to meet Vitaly Milonov, the man who drafted the recently passed law. Fry shared details of the interview on Twitter…






Gay Propaganda Law Russia – ‘Straight From The Nazi Playbook’

In an op-ed piece for the New York Times, Broadway icon Harvey Fierstein has taken the world to task for staying silent as Putin signed into law these unprecedented anti-gay measures that have trampled the civil rights of Russia’s LGBT citizens…

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?

Fierstein goes on to say..

With Russia about to hold the Winter Games in Sochi, the country is open to pressure. American and world leaders must speak out against Mr. Putin’s attacks and the violence they foster. The Olympic Committee must demand the retraction of these laws under threat of boycott.

In 1936 the world attended the Olympics in Germany. Few participants said a word about Hitler’s campaign against the Jews. Supporters of that decision point proudly to the triumph of Jesse Owens, while I point with dread to the Holocaust and world war. There is a price for tolerating intolerance.

Some people would argue that comparing the Holocaust to the unfolding situation in Russia is misguided. However, human rights violations, in whatever form are wrong and when the international community stands idly by allowing these violations to take place, that too is wrong, in any case.

So, what exactly can the global community do to send Russia a clear message that these violations must stop? Fierstein tells the The Hollywood Reporter “There’s only one way to change somebody like Putin and that’s in the pocketbook”…

You can’t get him with angry words. He feeds on that and his followers feed on that. You make the West angry, they’re thrilled. You can’t get them that way.

You can’t get them through a U.N. sanction: “Oh boy, the U.S. is mad at me. I’m shaking all the f–k over.”

There’s only one way and that’s in the pocketbook. You hurt them in the pocketbook, they shut the f–k up and back the f–k down.


Tell Us What You Think

Contrary to what the International Olympic Committee says, the gay propaganda law Russia is now enforcing could mean that any Olympic athlete, trainer, reporter, family member or fan who is gay — or suspected of being gay — can go to jail. What are your thoughts on this?

Do you have an opinion on the gay propaganda law Russia has introduced? How do you think the international community can support the civil rights of Russia’s LGBT citizens? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below or tweet us @rukkle.


Contact The Author

Email: / Twitter: @davealsybury


 Dave Alsybury
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