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 This article in the criminal code has long been repealed and homosexuals can do their thing absolutely freely and without punishment."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