Monday, August 12, 2013

So now it's official - The "hysteria" over Russia's anti-gay laws is an annoyance

Here's the "official" word from the Voice of Russia, the Russian Federation's international propaganda operation:

Hysteria about anti-gay propaganda law starting to annoy – Russian LGTB member

Some Russian gay-activists keep their eyes open on the recent Russian law banning "gay propaganda", and voice out the ideas that other LGTB-community members should listen to international ministers and famous sportsmen calling not to boycott the Olympic Games in Sochi 2014. The widely discussed law is not against gay-activists or their rights but against gay-propaganda among children which can harm child’s immature psychology.

What they seem to be suggesting is that there are gay activists in Russia who would oppose a boycott as a demonstration of contempt for Russia's violation of human rights. They go on to quote gay people from other countries — but no citizens of the Russian Federation.

After all, they claim, this law has nothing to do with gay activists. Oh no. We're just banning propaganda "among" [sic] children. We are protecting their underdeveloped "psychology." I am not sure what the excuse is for banning the adoption of children by gays but I can reasonably speculate.

The underlying pseudo-science suggests that sexual orientation is influenced by others. The fact that most gay people have straight parents doesn't seem to be a consideration. The fact that children raised by gay couples are no more likely to be gay than the general population has also not been part of this evaluation.

The most pernicious aspect to these laws is their ambiguity. The laws fail to adequately define what "propaganda" means and on what basis that propaganda is nefariously transmitted to a child. Today, that might mean a gay rights demonstration. Tomorrow that might mean any artwork by Keith Haring. As a Jew, I have seen parts of this movie before.

Masha Gessen, a lesbian and noted scholar who has written a biography of Putin, is a resident of Moscow and has dual (US-Russian) citizenship. Yesterday she wrote in the Guardian:
As a gay parent I must flee Russia or lose my children

Draconian new laws brand homosexuals second-class citizens in Putin's regime
[ … ]
Whatever they meant by "homosexual propaganda", I probably did it. I had two kids and a third on the way (my girlfriend was pregnant), which would mean I probably did it in front of minors. And this, in turn, meant the laws could in fact apply to me. First, I would be hauled in for administrative offences and fined and then, inevitably, social services would get involved.
Returning to the VOR article, it reads like 1960's disingenuous cold war propaganda. Apparently, gay people need to control their bullying of other gay people. They also have to be more conscious of the rights of other minorities in Russia. Shame on them:

Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak, who is responsible for planning the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, noted that the law banning gay propaganda among children and adolescents has no relation to the prosecution of individuals with different sexual orientations, the law only prescribes not to advocate such relations among minors.

"There is no infringement of individuals’ [rights] based on their sexual orientation, neither at the Olympics or up until the Olympics, and there will not be after. This legislation does not provide for it," Kozak said.

The same opinion is shared by the State Duma deputy and a former boxer Nikolai Valuev. "I don’t understand, what exactly do they want? No one prohibits them to live and do what they want. There is no criminal article of law for homosexuality, as in was in the Soviet Union. And the current law is directed primarily to the fact that no one has publicly show off his or her sexual preference," Valuev said.

This is what the Russian LGTB-community activist is trying to explain in the Internet to other members of the same-sex community. "Some overpoliticized comrades are trying to knit in the IOC into politics," the user "Russky Paren" believes. "But there is the same amount of stupid and herd members as among heterosexuals."

He also believes that there are enough gay people who bully gay people, and that those who are fighting for the gay people's rights often forget about other communities that live in Russia, such as the Caucasians, the Chechens, the Muslims, the Asians and others.

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