According to Gazeta.ru, two Russian oblasts (provinces) now outlaw “gay propaganda,” St. Petersburg and Moscow are considering doing so, and soon criminal prosecution of such “propaganda” may become federal law. In the news story, we see various individuals displaying the usual markers of ignorance, including the telling use of the term “propaganda,” protestations that the law is meant to protect children, and conflations with pedophilia:
“We must put a barrier against everything that destroys a child,” [said Federation Council speaker Valentina Matvienko.]
Few would disagree, Valentina, but “gay propaganda” doesn’t exist and information about homosexuality does not destroy children. Moreover, if the child you’re delivering as you give this interview [!] turns out to be gay, what of your barricade then?
Another deputy, Nina Ostanina, says that gay propaganda is very dangerous, especially when surrogate motherhood becomes legal in Russia…”Does it mean that gay couples could adopt a child?” she asked indignantly.
Yes, Nina, and if you cared to educate yourself on the matter you would learn that gay adoption is a good thing.
influential deputies from the ‘United Russia’ faction are in favor. Although, they remind the public that the new law defends children against harmful information. That will cover gay and pedophilic propaganda as well.
Really? Do Russian pedophiles organize and put out newsletters, pamphlets, and educational campaigns defending legal, consensual sexual acts?
I submit that, just as politicians going out of their way to attack LGBT people mark themselves as likely closeted gays, so do phrases like “gay and pedophilic” or “gays and pedophiles” mark the speakers as uninformed bigots. Are there any other reasons beyond ignorance and hatred to group these unrelated terms together during discussions of legislation or policy?
Gay activists in Russia haven’t been silenced. The courageous Nikolai Alexeyev, who has been at the front lines of the fight for equal rights for LGBTI people in Russia, spoke out in the Huffington Post:
[Alexeyev] said the bill could become “the main legal reason to deny any public actions by the LGBT community…It theoretically allows the ban of anything anywhere where kids could be present,” he told The Associated Press.
Like pride parades, for instance. HuffPost reports that when Alexeyev’s group tries to hold rallies it is often stopped by police and activists. This despite the fact that consensual homosexual activity was decriminalized in Russia almost 20 years ago. (Reportedly, Alexeyev recently stepped down from leadership of GayRussia for reasons he did not publicly reveal.)
Let’s show LGBTI Russians that they have allies on the other side of the world. Send some traffic to their advocacy group’s website. Let Google translate it for you and give them a follow on Twitter.