Who do you think you are kidding Mr Putin? (on the persecution of LGBT people in Russia)

I was a little shocked while having lunch with a slave the other day that during our usual discussion of current events he hadn’t heard about what is going on with LGBT people Russia!! I looked at him a little gobsmacked, one of the things we have in common (apart from a love of perverted exhibitionist times in the dungeon) is a fairly lefty world view. I decided to add a some news of the plight of LGBT people in Russia to My blog.

What seems to be attracting a bit of interest in the mainstream press is the collision of the winter Olympics in Russia with new and highly reppressive laws regarding Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people in that country, coupled with the Russian governments promise to arrest, detain and deport ANYONE speaking out on support of LGBT rights during the Olympics. Several members of a Dutch activist group have already been detained and deported after allegedly being involved with pro-gayrights groups in Moscow.
And Below is a rather fetching photograph of the gorgeous Tilda Swinton, breaking the laws in support of gay rights in Moscow.

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Is there anything more fabulous that a politically engaged woman?

Those of us a little more in tune with the worldwide situation on LGBT rights know that the situation in Russia has been tough for a LONG time. It’s a country where any sort of liberalism, rebellion or difference is being stamped out systematically. Whether this is in the form of Feminist dissent against the church and state, the right to political protest, or freedom of expression for LGBT people. In 2012 members of the punk band ‘Pussy Riot’ staged a live rendition of their ‘punk prayer’ in Moscows central cathedral as a protest against the Orthodox Church leader’s support for Putin during his election campaign.

Band members Nadezhda Tolokoninikova and Maria Alyokhina are currently serving 2 year prison sentences.

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The persecution of LGBT people in Russia has a wider context and a longer history than many are aware of, it’s not just ‘a single issue’ it is part of a massively restrictive political regime.

In 2012 The Russian government banned all gay pride events throughout the country for the next 100 years.

In 2013, laws have been imposed which prohibit speaking openly about or portraying being gay as anything akin to ‘normal’. In other words of you are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender in Russia today you better keep your head down your mouth shut and make sure no-one else is going to out you!! There is also talk of laws being introduced which will make it legal to forcibly remove children from parents who are gay or suspected of being gay.

Sad and frightening times, made even worse by the fact that the Russian public seem to have taken such laws as an incitement to step up the day to day persecution of LGBT people: Youtube is awash with videos of young men being entrapped and tortured for being gay by neo-fascist groups, one young man has died as a result of injuries resulting from such an event . There are ongoing reports of suicides, beatings and hardship.

As some one who has spent many years working in solidarity with LGBT rights groups, and who is a big QUEER themselves this current situation has a sinister ring to it. Putin’s insistence on ‘traditional’ gender roles, the centrality of the family, and that anyone outside of this be demonised sounds a LOT like the rhetoric of Fascism with its striving for ‘purity’ at all costs. Dear Mr Putin this really won’t do!!!

ImageThere are a demonstrations planned for this Saturday in London:

1-4pm at RICHMOND TERRACE – WHITEHALL, WESTMINSTER
1-4pm outside the Russian Embassy and Kensington Palace Gardens.

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