Russia is not very gay-friendly. That’s putting it mildly.
The 2014 summer Olympic games will be held in Sochi despite a frightening number of very real gay hate crimes being committed all over Russia. Vladimir Putin himself recently gave a speech in which he said that Russia would not tolerate “being genderless or fruitless” (I personally consider myself VERY fruity, actually, so that shouldn’t be a problem).
When speaking to MSNBC about the issue, gay actor and playwright Harvey Fierstein (you’d know him from Independence Day, Mrs. Doubtfire, and Disney’s Mulan) was very candid in talking to Chris Hayes about Russia’s new ban on “gay propaganda”. The language of the law is so ambiguous that police can toss anyone in jail for the most minor support of gay rights. Fierstein gave Vladimir an out that the dictator doesn’t deserve when he said that Putin is only in it for the money – that it’s right-wingers and their popularity that’s driving this mess.
Fierstein is falling victim to a belief that people are inherently good. Human beings are not. Putin is likely every bit as anti-gay as the new laws suggest, and it has more to do with his communist beliefs from his days in the KGB than with any religious or political ideal. Communism – like the Nazi brand of fascist socialism – needs new workers to survive. People have to procreate and add more able bodies to the force of “the people”. Gay people cannot procreate and are therefore useless to the greater good, so they must be done away with.
It astounds me that so many people fail to understand that concept. What’s more, gay leftists like Fierstein are far more willing to pin the blame on “right-wingers” than to acknowledge the truth – an act that goes against his stated mission to make people face the realities of anti-gay Russia.
Fierstein is right in making the parallel between 1936 Germany and today’s Russia. In 1936, the world gave a squishy “we don’t like your anti-Jew campaign” response to the Games being held in Berlin. Rather than boycott the games, they allowed Hitler to get away with just taking down the propaganda – then when everyone went home, Shoah began. More than six million Jews and upwards of eight million other “undesirables” (including homosexuals) were butchered. The anti-Jewish propaganda began in Nazi Germany much the way anti-gay propaganda is starting in today’s Russia. An undercurrent of belief that gays are filthy, lazy, and destructive to the country’s morals has given rise to a government movement. Laws banning gay couples from adopting preceded laws banning public support of any form of gay rights. Public attacks on gays are becoming more violent and more popular. It will continue to escalate until and unless other people stop talking and actually do something.
He is wrong to suggest that religion alone or a certain political ideal that many gay liberals believe is mirrored here in the US is responsible for this kind of thing. Like it or not, Russia, like Iran and most of the Sharia-loving Muslim nations in the Middle East, believes that the gay rights movement DOES come from the West. They believe that it’s a problem that we gave them. He can get angry with that fact all he wants. It does not negate the truth that he’s refusing to face.
We should be boycotting the Games. We should be standing up to Russia on this issue. We won’t now any more than we would have in Berlin in 1936 because the Games are more important. Fierstein, however, is like the rest of the gay left. He is far too willing to blame the conservative movement for this problem. In so doing, he (and Dan Savage like him) encourages the people who openly hate me for being a lesbian who is conservative. The people who push me around, throw drinks in my face, pick fights with me, and send me death threats take their cues from men like him.
When you learn to control your own hate, you can preach to the rest of the world about controlling theirs. Clean up your own act before you get on that pulpit.