Wentworth Miller had recently received an invitation to St. Petersburg, Russia, where it was hoped he would attend the film festival. However, Russia’s treatment of its gay population has left little to be desired, prompting global condemnation. These actions have also provoked Miller to immediately cancel his plans to visit Russia, striking out at Vladimir Putin’s country with great wit and dignity.
In a letter to the film festival’s director, Maria Averbakh, Miller announced he was gay:
“It would make me happy to say yes… However, as a gay man, I must decline.”
Wentworth Miller’s sexuality had been questioned and pondered over by the media on previous occasion. However, Miller remained completely silent on the subject, in an attempt to preserve a modest degree of privacy.
The 41-year-old, famous for his roles in the fantastic Prison Break, and his appearances in a number of blockbuster films, articulated his disappointment over the Russian government’s “… treatment of gay men and women…”
Despite homosexuality becoming legalized in Russia, during the early 90s, it is perhaps fair to say that, as a country, Russia still remains relatively unenlightened; anti-gay sentiment and homophobia is a huge problem across much of the country and, judging by the government’s response to the controversial issue, it does not seem likely to be resolved any time soon.
The legal system has been amended to preclude the promotion of gay or bisexual activities and, in June, the Russian parliament supported constitutional changes that would result in penalties for any individual found to be involved in arranging a gay pride event. Likewise, any individual caught providing details regarding homosexuality to the underage would also face hefty fines. These acts would be defined as gay propaganda, and are now classified as criminal acts. According to the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), this apparent propaganda would extend to homosexuals holding hands in public and announcing pro-gay sentiments.
Vladimir Putin also introduced a law preventing same-sex couples from adopting children born in Russia; this even extended to couples that inhabited regions where lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) attitudes were legal and accepted. This is likely part of the reason Wentworth Miller has decided to strike out against the country and cancel his trip.
In a final coup de grâce, during the closing statements of his letter, Wentworth went for the jugular:
“The situation is in no way acceptable, and I cannot in good conscience participate in a celebratory occasion hosted by a country where people like myself are being systematically denied their basic right to live and love openly.”
Meanwhile, the persecution of LGBT members of Russian communities has stirred considerable strife across the country. There are even reports of gay citizens being kidnapped and tortured by a battalion of depraved, Russian skinheads.
None the less, Wentworth Miller’s courageous stance against Vladimir Putin and his dictatorial government is something to be envied, striking out against injustice and inequality. Hopefully, this will generate sufficient public interest to ensure awareness of these heinous, discriminatory acts, in the hope that genuine change might be enacted. Forget about whether Miller is straight, gay or bisexual; his graceful actions have shown true character and leadership.
By: James Fenner