From Russia with hate



You may have heard. Russia essentially outlawed homosexuality. Outlawed the act. Outlawed talking about it. Enshrined outdated notions of gender and masculinity into law. It’s pretty sick.


Today I watched a handful of videos on YouTube of the consequence of these laws. It was horrifying. However I couldn’t turn away. For me, I need to see it. What I saw was inhumane. Behavior that is vile and evil. All condoned by these anti-gay laws in Russia. The perpetrators are mostly young men. Never are they punished, because as Russian culture see’s it, its not a crime. Tragically in Russian culture it is perceived as a social good to punish gay people with as much cruelty as possible.


In every videos the assailants jeered the victims. These victims are labeled pedophiles. They are humiliated, beaten, and some face even more unspeakable acts of cruelty. Recently a young man was kidnapped tortured, had urine poured on him, and he was sodomized with a beer bottle. He died a few days later. No charges we filed. In fact there is a word for it in Russian culture. It’s called “Safari” – luring and attacking a gay person. Sick yet?


Furthermore the behavior is pretty much condoned by the Russian government. Rarely are criminal charges issued against the evil people who commit these unspeakable acts.


Recently popular gay personality Dan Savage suggested and promoted a boycott of Stolichnaya (Stoli) Vodka. There have been photos and news stories about Gay bars and gay bar patrons pouring out bottles of the liquor to stand in solidarity with those LGBT Russians who live with this evil everyday. While its a nice gesture, its completely idiotic. Not drinking Stoli does absolutely nothing to stem the violence and persecution Russians face from these anti-gay laws. In fact all its really does it hurt a company that is only Russian in name. In fact the company is located in Latvia not Russia. The Stoli boycott is just misguided and incredibly naive.


I have a better idea, one that we can apply in our own communities. Be better to each other. Treat our LGBT brothers and sisters kinder. Judge each other less. Refrain from that childish behavior we often get caught up in. These days there is no excuse for the contemptible way we treat each other. Our struggle is shared. We are human but often times we don’t treat each other that way. In fact sometimes we are selves are the bullies we hated as children. It just needs to stop. Period.


We face our own struggles here in America, but consider what others in the world face for being LGBT. We are lucky. Maybe even privileged. We face violence and harassment too. We are even killed just for being, but not to the extent that our LGBT brothers and sisters face in other parts of the world.


We should be an example. We should be a shining light to the rest of the world. Our cooperation and love of one another could be extraordinary. Think about it our Community’s momentum to affect change here at home has been remarkable. It wasn’t too long ago that we too were persecuted and hated. We had enough and we changed that. Considering the time frame, what we accomplished is impressive. We still have a lot of work still to do, but what we do here can be an example to the rest of the world. Maybe even Russia.

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