Tuesday, August 06, 2013

For Russia, With Hope

How do we solve a problem like Russia’s treatment of gays? The recent wave of political and physical violence against LGBT rights and people simply cannot be ignored. At a time when many other parts of the world are starting to finally embrace us fully as equal and worthy, Russia is going backwards with angry fists flying.

- Gay Pride parade banned in Russia for 100 years.
- Law against foreign LGBT couples adopting Russian children.
- Law against spreading “gay propaganda” to minors, effectively making it illegal to call same-sex and straight relationships equal.
- Anti-gay violence and attacks on the rise, including the targeting, torture and humiliation of gays online via social media.
Over the summer almost every attempt to hold peaceful Pride Parades or rallies have ended in violence, arrests and blood. It’s not pretty and it’s very real.

So now the question become, how does the LGBT community and its allies best protest these atrocities? How do we get this to stop? It’s not an easy question and there are no easy answers. It will all come to a head this winter when the Olympic Games come to Sochi, Russia. LGBT athletes and spectators will show up in a country that decidedly does not want them there. And us fans at home must decide how watching them in a backdrop filled with such hate.

So far, response has been varied. Some say boycott the Sochi Olympics. Others say don’t boycott the Sochi Olympics. Some say boycott Russian vodka. Others say don’t boycott Russian vodka. And Lady Gaga tweeted. Boycotts, backlashes and Gaga, oh my.

The truth is, there’s no one right way to make change. Boycotting the Olympics hurts the athletes who train a lifetime for their chance at glory. Boycotting Stoli hurts a company that has been incredibly LGBT friendly over its history. Not boycotting either sends a message of passive acceptance. Perhaps letting the Olympics proceed, but reporting on its human rights violations is the answer. Or drinking Stoli, yet pressuring its owners to put pressure on its mother country is the answer. More likely, all kinds of combinations of all kinds of responses, while always pressing for change, is the ultimate answer. What I know is we can’t stop talking about it, we can’t stop exposing it for what it is, we can’t stop supporting the brave LGBT people and allies in Russia who are facing jail, beatings and even death fighting for their rights. So I guess the only answer that isn’t an option is to close our eyes.


Anonymous said...

Check out the All Out Petition.

Anonymous said...

One thing I do know, sending Rachel Maddow over there as a human rights correspondent is a terrible idea. Who at Truth Wins Out came up with that one?!

Anonymous said...

This article really resonates with me as I live in a muslim country whereby just even holding hands with my gf could get us thrown into jail. Sometimes I read the LGBT wins we have online in so many different countries and I picture what it would be like if we had it here.

Sadly, I don't think this would happen in my life time..but I can't imagine leaving this country without changing it just a little to make it easier for the next generation - so that they wouldn't be made to feel so isolated, different, so undeserving of love the way I've always felt all my life.

I have always lived vicariously via the U.S. fight for equality. It gives me hope that one day I would be able to feel safe just holding my girl's hands in public. That we no longer have to keep our love a secret in fear of repercussions cause she is the most amazing woman I have ever met and I think the world deserves to know.

I send all my love to Russia and to all the other LGBT people who are tired of being oppressed by their country, their government and by religion. There is still a long way for the world to change. Our fight will not end until everyone of us is heard.

Carmen SanDiego said...

I am of the opinion that all athelete allies should wear rainbow armbands. Not necessarily when they compete but During the opening ceremony, when they get their medals, during interviews... Armbands dont get in the way of your uniform and are very visible (specially if they are rainbow colored)

Anonymous said...

Ms. Snarker. While things in Russia are horrible. Why are you not equally upset about the horrible news about Rachel Skarsten. She is promoting and apart of one of the most homophobic chuches in the Us and Canada. Yet she is on a show that is LGBT friends. Still you have no reply. You've said nothing. Is it because you like the actress and are giving her a pass?

Where is your integrity.

Anonymous said...

Hey Anon. 4:55, give Ms. Snarker a break, it's her personal blog after all.

But seriously sexy Snarker, why are you focusing on an entire country's LGBT oppression when there is one actress out there doing wrong?? WHY?!

Whaler said...

Make your governments to Boycott Russian Oil and Gas!!!

Helena said...

I do know when people work together change can happen. And sanctions/boycotts did contribute here in South Africa to end apartheid. Just never give up in your struggle.

Unknown said...

I've been following this topic particularly closely as it is just so ridiculously barbaric. I mean, I can barely even comprehend the level of oppressive hatred that the Russian government it guilty of currently. It doesn't seem comprehensible that such events could be occurring in the 21st century. Alas, I know not to be naive enough to believe it only occurs here.

I personally believe that something should absolutely be done. And to put it better into words I recommend reading an open letter to the British government and the Olympic committee written by Stephen Fry ( gay celebrity, actor,genius, comedian). He puts the sentiments into better words than I could ever hope to.