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Russia And Gay People, Another Dark Chapter For Putin’s Reign

August 12, 2013


This morning above the fold in The New York Times is an article that demands to be read by everyone around the world.  The reason is simple.

When did you ever see the following as an opening to a news story?

If this article were published in a newspaper based in Russia, it could be labeled 18+ — like an X-rated movie — and start with the following disclaimer: “This article contains information not suitable for readers younger than 18 years of age, according to Russian legislation.”

What has been happening in Russia recently regarding gay people is simply deplorable.  It is nauseating to read about.

The move by Russia’s government toward social conservatism has energized the world community, especially in light of the Olympics which will be held there in 2014.  The discrimination against gays in Russia has become a very real diplomatic problem.  In a matter of just a few days over three hundred thousand signatures were collected internationally protesting the actions of the government.  Last week the International Olympic Committee demanded that Russia explain how it will implement the law at the Winter Games in Sochi.

I am under no illusions when it comes to Putin’s Russia, and take the following paragraph in the Times seriously.

Mixed signals from senior Russian officials over how the propaganda law might be enforced during the Games have undercut assertions by the International Olympic Committee that gay athletes and spectators have nothing to worry about, and have left organizing officials facing harsh criticism and demanding clarifications from the Kremlin.

I do not think the games should be boycotted, but instead want gay athletes to participate and take home the gold.  The athletes and the spectators at the games must be safe, and there has to be a solid iron-clad guarantee from Putin that this will be the case.  I also want a massive ‘in your face’ series of moments that will send a clear message the rest of the world finds Russia’s attitudes and behavior towards gay men and women unacceptable and repugnant.

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