Gay Pride, or Prejudice?

by gabriel_heuvelink on September 12, 2013 - 11:06pm

In this article written by BBC news in August 2013, the harsh realities of Russia's new anti-gay laws are brought forward in a Q&A format. The article first describes how hard life as a gay Russian is, considering Russia is ranked as the worst country in Europe for gay people to live in, and that conservative communities of the two biggest faith groups, Orthodox Christians and Muslims, are openly hostile against gays. Russia's leaders were asked for their opinion, with Sergei Lavrov, Russia's urbane foreign minister quoted as saying "Homosexuality, as you know, used to be a criminal act in the Soviet Union. This article in the criminal code has long been repealed and homosexuals can do their thing absolutely freely and without punishment." he adds that gay people could not be allowed to "aggressively promote their values, which are different from those of the majority, and to impose them on children." This "propaganda law” is amending Russia's child protection law, covering "the propagandising of non-traditional sexual relations among minors." Furthermore, the loose wording leaves the authorities to freely interpret the law as they feel fit, meaning that any "gay pride" event is impossible without repercussion, with fines ranging from 4000 roubles (121$) for an individual to 1million roubles for organisations. With an overwhelming public support for the law, and the suggested three-quarters of Russians considering homosexuality an illness, the Kremlin might be trying to win back public favor after the recent elections, which featured the biggest anti-government protests since Soviet times. The article finishes off with stories of abuse and violence towards the gay community and individuals, which the Russian government seems unable or unwilling to intervene in. The final paragraph suggesting that pro-gay bars in the U.S and the U.K boycott Russian bars would improve living conditions for gay people in Russia. 

 

Personally, I think that this new law is unreasonable and grossly descriminatory. Because of the vagueness of the wording of the law, many lawkeepers will interpret it their way, which could see a gay couple holding hands arrested for "propagandising non-traditional sexual relations to minors. Furthermore, the indirectness of the term "non-traditional" leaves the law open to even more personal interpretation. Everything depends on the police's judgement of what a "non-traditional sexual relation" is. As a Canadian citizen, it is hard for me to imagine such things happening in my own country, where homosexuals have the same rights as heterosexuals. However, some might argue that we must  not interfere in another country's politics, especially one that is democratically elected. This issue is certainly not to be taken lightly, nevertheles, direct conflict is to be avoided, and in my humble opinion, this issue could be resolved through collective protesting and international pressure. 

Link to article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-23604142

Comments

I agree with you, this new “propaganda law” is absolutely discriminatory and restricts the freedom of the gay population of Russia. The article mentions that it has now been 20 years that homosexual relations have been decriminalized in Russia. But it still shocks me at which point the people and government of Russia are still against homosexuality. Russia should not be allowed to pass laws like this because like you mentioned, it is now practically impossible to make “gay pride” events. Taking a consequentialist approach, other countries can’t intervene with Russia’s decisions against homosexuality because it’s a democratic country where “three-quarters of Russians [consider] homosexuality an illness or aberration”, as the article puts it. Therefore, intervening would result in conflicts between countries which can possibly have terrible consequences. But if people and countries from all over the world decide to protest and pressure Russia, their perspective could eventually change. A BBC article mentions that Stephen Fry, a broadcaster, has urged the International Olympic Committee to “strip Russia of the 2014 Winter Olympics because of its new anti-gay laws”. Actions against Russia have started; we simply need to keep them going internationally.

The article briefly mentioned Stephen Fry’s letter about the Olympics, for more information read this article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-23603870

I am totally in agreement with your point of view on gay’s condition in Russia. It is hostile and I am disgust about this situation. You bring a good point when you say that this awful law can be reverse with international pressure. If as a community we protest and boycott events and market of Russia, we would be able to change something for sure. But this whole controversy brings me ethical questions as an individual and as a society. How, in the 21th century, something like that can still happen without consequences? With the easy access to information we have today, I was not aware of gay’s situation before the law. And it troubles me because why we never heard about that before? In Russia, 70% of the population agree with the anti-gay’s law. Therefore, this ideology is established since a long time. We live in a society that doesn’t care about what is outside of our borders. We talk about all our little problems without considering people that really suffer in the entire world and who need help from others countries.

I completely agree with you. Coming from a town that has homosexuals and heterosexuals, it only seems right to believe that homosexuals should not be treated any less. Growing up, there have been gay pride parades every year, just minutes from where I live. The propaganda law in Russia is very outrageous because it is taking away the freedoms of homosexuals, who are still human’s regardless of which gender they are attracted to. The tough part on learning about this topic is that there is nothing we can do about it because Russia is a democratic country that thoroughly believes in homosexuality as being an illness. This is wrong on so many different levels, but if we were to step in at all, it would cause an outbreak in unneeded conflict. You have a very good point when you say that this topic should not be taken lightly; in my belief, it should not matter whether you are heterosexual or homosexual, you should be given equal rights.

I agree with your point of view on the situation of homosexuals living in Russia. It is unfair that they do not have the same rights as heterosexuals and they are considered "ill". When in reality, they are humans just like the rest of the people. In the United States, homosexuals have to deal with these unfair circumstances only because they want to be happy with someone of the same sex. Some states allow gay marriage while others remain against it. However, I believe that homosexuals and heterosexuals should have the same rights to marriage and simply be able to display their affection to their significant other whether it is in the United States, Russia, Canada, or anywhere else in this world.

Wow! Your summary of this article is very impressive. I was completely unaware of how cruel Russia’s laws are until reading this. It is so interesting and shocking that a country can be so against something that is so freely publicized where we live. I find it cruel and unusual that homosexuals in Russia are not allowed to promote their beliefs. It is very interesting how you explained that with the loose interpretation of the propaganda law, Russia police can arrest and charge people based on their own opinions. It seems that if this law is not altered there will be a major uproar and this will be an even greater problem then it already is. Living in New York my entire life and frequently visiting New York City it has become part of our culture to embrace other people’s beliefs and sexual orientation. I cannot imagine living in a world like Russia where people are ostracized because of their sexuality and seen to be committing criminal acts! Overall, I felt that your response was extremely interesting and your summary was very descriptive and easy to understand.

Back at home I have alot of friends and a few family members who have recently came out about their sexuality these past few years. It also just so happens that my brother's mother just married another women here in New York state. To think people are being abused and fined for expressing themselves innocently sickens me. People should be able to live in peace the way they want to as long as it's not hurting nobody. Children witnessing same sex interactions such as holding hands, a simple kiss or anything of that sort wil not harm them in any way. It is arguable that some people may not want their children to be exposed to that sense of nature, however exposure, and awareness is the only effects that could take place. Also the idea of it having an influence on children can be argued especially when it comes to the debate "Are you born gay? Is it something you realize when your older?" I think you did a great job in this blog. Keep it up and I will be looking forward to reading more of what you have to say.

I myself am not against gays. I have family members who are lesbians. I fully believe in letting people love who they want to love I just ask you not do it in public (I am okay with holding hands in public). However that thought is applied to any couples including guy/girl, girl/girl, and guy/guy. I guess I just don’t understand what the big deal is and why charge a ridiculous fine. I guess it’s because people are going to do what they are going to do no matter what even if that involves a fine. If I did the math right 4000 roubles=$121 which means that 1 million roubles=$30,250. That is just ridiculous.

I absolutely agree with your thoughts on this new law-- it is "unreasonable and grossly discriminatory" without a doubt. I was raised in a very accepting community in New York, where gay individuals have the same rights as heterosexuals. Personally, I feel that if something (such as homosexuality) is not hurting us, why worry about it and hurt those who have to deal with the repercussions of prejudice. This particular issue is further complicated, as you explained, because it is in a foreign nation but has attracted international attention. Large-scale human rights issues such as gay rights should be dealt with on an international level. Perhaps new UN or international legislation to deal with this issue is worth exploring.

I absolutely agree with your thoughts on this new law-- it is "unreasonable and grossly discriminatory" without a doubt. I was raised in a very accepting community in New York, where gay individuals have the same rights as heterosexuals. Personally, I feel that if something (such as homosexuality) is not hurting us, why worry about it and hurt those who have to deal with the repercussions of prejudice. This particular issue is further complicated, as you explained, because it is in a foreign nation but has attracted international attention. Large-scale human rights issues such as gay rights should be dealt with on an international level. Perhaps new UN or international legislation to deal with this issue is worth exploring.

It mind-blowing to see that homosexual is the main attraction of any kind of discrimination.Homophobic people referred it as untraditional to love someone from the same sex. It doesn't follow the right path.I don't understand why should there be ways to live our life. Some people believe that loving the same sex as them make them happy.This is how it is suppose to be.To be free and bee able to express ourselves without always living under the fear to be judge.There are millions of way to see the world.Diversity is how the world feed itself.Why is it openly allowed for all the mutilcuturalism people to dress or to follow any kind of events that their cultures tell them to and not being criticized? Why being gay is seeing as something to be wrong and not human?.It is human and nothing could change that.

It mind-blowing to see that homosexual is the main attraction of any kind of discrimination.Homophobic people referred it as untraditional to love someone from the same sex. It doesn't follow the right path.I don't understand why should there be ways to live our life. Some people believe that loving the same sex as them make them happy.This is how it is suppose to be.To be free and bee able to express ourselves without always living under the fear to be judge.There are millions of way to see the world.Diversity is how the world feed itself.Why is it openly allowed for all the mutilcuturalism people to dress or to follow any kind of events that their cultures tell them to and not being criticized? Why being gay is seeing as something to be wrong and not human?.It is human and nothing could change that.

When reading the title of your article it immediately drew me in and had me wanting to know more. As I read your summary I realized just how terrible Russia’s laws towards homosexuals are and how bad it actually is there. I totally agree with you about the aspects of this new law. This new law is terribly discriminatory and can be interpreted very loosely. For the homosexuals this can be very bad and cause serious problems. I come from a community where homosexuals are accepted and allowed to freely express themselves, which makes it hard for me to believe homosexuals can be treated so badly. It also blows my mind that the government is okay with how these people are being treated. Where I am from, embracing homosexuals as an equal part of society is being implemented into our culture. I can’t imagine not being able to promote my own way of life without serious consequences. I don’t feel that the government should be allowed to impose a law stating that homosexuals can’t promote their ways of life.

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