To Russia With Love

Love

Love (Photo credit: praram)

“There are a great many opinions in this world, and a good half of them are professed by people who have never been in trouble.”  

I wonder what Chekov would have made of the international outrage caused by his country’s behaviour recently. The Russian government has created a sorry buzz in the media as it openly brews up an anti-gay storm. It’s as if they were deliberately trying to goad the Western world into either boycotting the Olympic Winter games in Sochi or tacitly condoning their behaviour by attending.

On the 11th June 2013, the Russian Duma voted in Federal Law  No. 135-FZ. Behind this innocuous title is a law that puts a legal lid on any talk about homosexuality to under 18’s. It concerns the “Protection of Children from Information Harmful to their Health and Development,” and makes it illegal to “spread information aimed at forming non-traditional sexual behaviour among children, suggesting this behaviour is attractive and making a false statement about the socially equal nature of traditional and non-traditional relationships“.

Strangely enough, whereas an impressive 137 hours of debate about the recent French bill for same-sex marriage resulted in 331 votes for and 225 against the bill, the Russian bid to hush-up homosexuality was voted in by a vote of 436… to zero. Only one brave (or eternally optimistic) person abstained, and probably rushed home to change the locks and adopt a family of pit bulls with titantium-tipped teeth. It’s enough to make you wonder if voters had been given the choice between a vote in favour of the proposal or a voucher for a free, unlimited stay in a Siberian salt mine.

Two hands holding

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lots of things could be said about this, but here are a few of MM’s musings. Apart from the “minor” issue of being openly discriminatory, the terminology of this law needs to be more precise. For example, to accuse someone of encouraging “non-traditional sexual behaviour,” you first have to define what traditional means. It conjures up the unpleasant image of Igor doing a preliminary Cossack dance with a rose clenched between his teeth, switching off the light and honouring a blushing Olga wearing full local dress. (That sentence was deliberately ambiguous. Who is wearing the local dress? It could be Olga or Igor. Who cares, and who would know anyway? The light’s out.) I would therefore recommend either a public referendum on the subject, or calling in some international political colleagues with hands-on experience (I believe that France and Italy both have one) to help them with this difficult task.

The Duma also seem to have overlooked the fact that this law (no doubt unintentionally) states that homosexuals are not the social equals of citizens in “traditional” relationships. They should correct this, as I’m sure they don’t want small-minded citizens to see it as official permission to beat up their neighbour. I’m also flummoxed about why anyone would spend their time trying to “recruit” for the gay cause – what do they think gay people are, sales reps? If you want a law to protect the health and development of Russian children, ban vodka and fast food, not freedom of speech.

In for a penny, in for a pound, another law is in the Kremlin pipeline, giving Russian authorities the right to withdraw children from their parents if one of them is gay. Having gay parents is not good for children and could influence them to become gay when they grow up, they claim. That would be logical, except being brought up by straight parents doesn’t necessarily make you straight. I may be naïve, but I’d like to understand what the problem is if someone does grow up to be gay.

Rainbow Bot

Photo credit: Jenn and Tony Bot

So some Russians are gay? Whoopee. Get over it, and move on. A gay person is no more dangerous to you or your children than any other person you pass on the street. Being gay is not contagious, a fad, a fashion, or a “phase” someone is going through. Nor is it a choice: who would choose to experience intimidation (or much worse) on a regular basis?

These moral crusaders are touchingly convinced that their own offspring will not become victims of the suffocating, intolerant world they are creating for them. So think about it.  Set the example for future generations. Dare to think outside the box. I’m going to stop ranting now – I’m off to check that nobody is hovering around outside my house with a suspiciously pointy umbrella.

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21 thoughts on “To Russia With Love

    • You’re right, here’s hoping it doesn’t end up on a silver plate at the Kremlin. I’m going to train smelly dog to show her teeth. Thanks for commenting – I think this is going to be one of those “lonely” posts. I’ll be back to service as normal next time 🙂

  1. I am in complete agreement with you and find the Russian Law totally outrageous, however, I must say that we Americans can be just as obtuse–or worse! I don’t know that most intolerant Americans would go so far as to have children removed from the home, but there is huge disagreement over whether or not gays should be allowed to adopt. I don’t think our American attitudes are as widely divided from the Russian counterparts as we might like to think. I don’t want to discount how terrible this Russian law is, but I’m just sad that Americans in 2013 can still be so divided over equal rights for our homosexual brothers and sisters.

    • Thanks for your comment! I agree with you – there’s a huge debate across the world, but at least the democratic process makes it a healthy debate. I didn’t go into the topic of religion, but very often it’s religious zealots in the West who are the most intolerant of difference. The bottom line 🙂 is that the basic right to be respected is already there and the debate is about improving the situation is democaratic, unlike in Russia where legilslation appears to be state-imposed to ostracise part of the population. In other words, either the Western world has progressed faster, or Russia is back-pedalling into the Dark Ages.

  2. This may not be the “kind of post that people flock to comment on” but I can only dream of the day when more people (including myself) have the guts to write a post on such important issues. Good on ya, what a fantastic entry!!

    • Hiya, Katie! Thank you for your support. I did wonder if I should publish this – it’s one of the subjects that makes readers uncomfortable about commenting, and even reading (for some). I wasn’t expecting much feedback for that reason, but I had to write it out of my system and put in “out there” – what’s going on is just too evil for words. I doubt that Mr Putin will ever read it, and it would probably just end up in the fire along with his Ipad 🙂

  3. Well said, MM and I agree with every word. Never be afraid to write what you feel strongly about, Blogging needs passion or it will just become a bland kind of online magazine.

    Russia is indeed back-pedalling into a darker age and it pains me very much to acknowledge that much of this is because of the increasing power and influence of the resurgent and deeply conservative Orthodox Church. 😦 To have broken free of a repressive totalitarian political system only to sink into a repressive totalitarian social system is a tragedy.

    • Thanks for commenting, Miss P – I was concerned I’d upset my regular readers with this post, but as you say, if you don’t shout in your personal space, somehow it’s just not “you”. I didn’t dare to tackle the religious part of the equation in this post, partly because it would maybe upset readers and partly because I wasn’t sure I’d be able to dose my reaction sufficiently. I still can’t get my head around the fact that people preach tolerance but don’t practice it themselves. I hope that the Russian population wake up and react.

  4. Well written MM! Whatever happened to Live & Let Live? I despair at the selfishness and hypocrisy of some of the human race …. what difference does anything make as long as a person is inherently a good and caring individual. ( I hesitate to say law-abiding given the above discussion of unfair laws 😉 ) Sadly there are too, too many straight people who just don’t fit into this category.

    • Hey up, chuck! Thanks for popping by and commenting. I completely agree with you – there are too many people who behave badly in the name of “goodness” (if that makes sense). Did you see this showdown between a pastor and Kevin Rudd? Very revealing about how the Bible can be interpreted by narrow-minded people.

  5. Great post. All around the world we must raise raise our voices against the appalling injustices and the horrible crimes committed against people who are gay.
    I had heard about the Kevin Rudd response but not seen it, so thanks for that too.

    • Hello Miss Cuttlefish! Thanks for commenting. I was very impressed by Kevin Rudd’s reaction – calm and well thought out. We need more people like that in “high places” who dare to speak out against intolerance and bigotry. Fingers crossed that Russia wakes up one day soon…

  6. This one slipped by me somehow (not on purpose, I promise!) I totally agree with you. I think it’s outrageous to think that children would be taken away from their parents just because one of them is gay! I hate narrow mindedness and the whole ‘Don’t understand it so I’m against it!’ attitude! Well said MM!

  7. From time to time, narrow minds appeared (here, actually, in Russia) and we are so surprised we could stayed just mute : thanks to your words, M.M.
    Besides, I am jealous, my English is not as good as your French, I hope you’ll understand what I wanted to say anyway ?

    • Thanks, Lise! Of course I understood what you said. I’m not very good at keeping my mouth sut when I het irritated about things – there’s another post in the pipeline about Sochi and my Pal Mr P the President. Watch this space… 🙂

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