If the Russian President Vladimir Putin thought he would get away with it, then, you must think twice Mr. Putin. The LGBT population in the world will stand together for each other, because the gay community has fought too hard to get equality and justice around the globe to stand back now. The LGBT community knows how to fire back.
In the world there has been a big move forward in terms of gay rights, in the last years, many nations have allowed same-sex-marriage. However, while progress is being made in some areas, in some industrialized countries, the level of education and human rights issues have dropped terribly; as is the case with Russia.
In the past few weeks the LGBT community in Russia, is facing increased discrimination and violent attacks. In June, the Kremlin, passed a law that makes it illegal to spread any type of propaganda related to “non-traditional sexual relations.” The punishment for breaking the law is incarceration and severe fines. Igniting the fire even more, the Russian Orthodox Church called gay marriage, “apocalyptic.”
In response, Russian gay activists have been protesting all over Russia, however, according to Amnesty International, the protesters have been subjected to violent attacks. That´s why, LGBT activists are urging a boycott of products made in Russia. For instance, Stolichnaya, the popular vodka brand, was one of the first to be attacked on Twitter by supporters of the LGBT community with hashtags such as, “#DumpStoli or #DumpRussianVodka.”
Another supporter, Dan Savage, author and founder of “It gets better project”, fired back in his blog for the newspaper The Stranger, based in Seattle, “I´m boycotting Russian Vodka.” He also said, “There is something we can do right here, right now, in Seattle and other U.S. cities to show our solidarity with Russian queers and their allies. Helping to draw international attention to the persecution of gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, trans-sexuals, and straight allies in Putin´s increasingly fascistic Russia.” Also, Savage urged gay bars to stop serving Russian brands.
Nonetheless, Stolichnaya, wrote on its Facebook page, “Stolichnaya Premium vodka stands strong and proud with the global LGBT community against actions and beliefs of the Russian government.” Then, Pinknews, the European news site, said that the Russian-American group RUSA LGBT qualified Stolichnaya´s move as a victory in what might be a long battle.
Other nations, such as Canada, are urging Russia to protect the rights of LGBT citizens following concerns about gay athletes and the public in general attending the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. According to the Canadian network, CBC, four Dutch nationals were making a film on gay rights, and they were detained and fined in the northwestern city of Murmansk.
Canada was one of the first countries to allow same-sex-marriages in the world, and it´s well known for protecting gay rights, that´s why, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police is taking seriously the Russian threat for Canadian athletes attending the Winter Olympics in Sochi. RCMP Cpl. Laurence Trottier, said in a statement, “The Sochi security briefing will include a meeting on the recently signed law giving authorities the rights to detain tourists and foreign nationals suspected of being homosexual or pro-gay.”
Moreover, Harvey Fierstein, the actor and playwright, writing for the New York Times said, “Russia´s president, Vladimir Putin, has declared war on homosexuals. So far, the world has mostly been silent.”
NBC reported that the the International Olympic Committee made a statement about the issue; “The international Olympic Committee is clear that sport is a human right and should be available to all regardless of race, sex or sexual orientation. The games should be open to all, free of discrimination, and that applies to spectators, officials, media and of course athletes. We would oppose in the strongest terms any move that would jeopardize this principle.”
Thus far, the social media, journalists and supporters of the LGBT community are urging people to stand for each other and fire back at Mr. Putin´s laws against the gay community. As Fierstein expressed, “Mr. Putin´s campaign, is one of distraction, a strategy of demonizing a minority for political gain taken straight from the Nazi playbook.”
Please, if you are reading this article, join in the protest, through Facebook, Twitter, or any other social network, let´s stop this. The laws passed by president Putin are a vile attack on human rights in Russia.
By: Oskar Guzman.
Special Correspondent Mexico and Canada.