Q SyndicateΔJul 18, 2013
The heterosexual Snowden doesn't have to worry his little head about this, of course, but Vladimir Putin's Russia is in the midst of passing a series of repressive laws against its LGBT population and guests. Attacks on LGBT individuals and groups have been building for years, seemingly with tacit official support. Pridesource reports that, according to an official State Department advisory:
"Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is widespread in Russia, as harassment, threats and acts of violence have been targeted at LGBT individuals. Government officials have been known to make derogatory comments about LGBT persons, and St. Petersburg, Arkhangelsk, Ryazan, and Kostroma recently have banned 'the promotion of homosexuality' to minors, effectively limiting public expression and assembly on LGBT issues. Legislatures in Moscow, Novosibirsk, and Kaliningrad are considering similar measures, and there has been a push for a national ban, which has the support of a number of groups including the Russian Orthodox Church. It is unclear exactly how these statutes are being applied, although arrests have occurred under these laws, and one person has been fined approximately $170 in St. Petersburg for holding up a sign supporting LGBT rights. Public actions (including dissemination of information, statements, displays, or perceived conspicuous behavior) contradicting or appearing to contradict such laws may lead to arrest, prosecution, and the imposition of a fine."The mayor of Reykjavik, Iceland, Jón Gnarr, has led a movement to sever "sister city" ties with Moscow and other Russian cities over this heightened hostility to gays and lesbians; LGBT groups in Chicago and Lansing are among those pressing their hometowns to follow suit.
Meanwhile, LGBT athletes training for the 2014 Olympics in Sochi are worried that they might face legal harassment or worse if they participate in the games.
In response to the new legislation, the International Olympic Committee reiterated its “long commitment to non-discrimination against those taking part in the Olympic Games.” The Switzerland-based body also stated, “Athletes of all sexual orientations will be welcome at the Olympic Games.” However, RUSA LGBT [a Russian-speaking American association] is not convinced. ...
Human Rights Watch also expressed concerns that Russia had impeded efforts to create an Olympic Pride House in Sochi, potentially ending an Olympic tradition that began in Vancouver. Its founders hoped to offer information regarding homophobia in sports and promote LGBT rights during the Games, but Russian authorities said the Pride House would “contradict the foundations of public morality and government policy in the area of protection of the family, motherhood and childhood.”