Vodka Gutters & Chest Wings: Russia vs. LGBT
As the flame is now lit in Olympia for the Russian Winter Olympics, we arrive at what will be one of the most controversial, discriminatory and heated games for a long time.
Near to Sochi, where the Olympics will take place next year in Russia, lies a little place called Progress. Surprised at seeing this in front of me, I knew that it couldn't just be fate. In light of recent events, it's hilarious to think that is a place name in Russia. The cultural genocide that is occurring there over the LGBT+ community has caused waves, to say the least. The world had picked up on this and is doing everything possible to retaliate against this most ridiculous and unjust decision.
The site of seeing young LGBT+ people in Russia being hosed and shamed by Neo Nazis (how can you be both Nazi and Russian exactly?) and pummeled in the street just for kissing each other or holding a rainbow flag, is enough to make my soul weep. We won't even be able to protest next year at the Olympics, such is the dictatorship that amazingly still exists there today. It's so baffling to see Putin back in power again. Why can't a bold, new leader take the powerhouse that is the mother country, out of the middle ages and into the new millennium?
Things have truly come to loggerheads there about these concerns. This wouldn't be the case had they not got the deal to host the Winter Olympics. Of course there would be an outcry either way, but it's because they have landed this great sporting event, that their masks have fallen to reveal something dark, disgusting and downright despicable. Let’s not forget that this is a country which only legalised homosexuality in the mid 1990s.
Can we really comprehend what is going on in Russia at the moment? Yes, there are wars, famine and political instability elsewhere in the world (there always has been). But the most basic of human rights is being denied to I don't know how many there. Ponder this: How many people do you think are LGBT+ in the largest country on earth? It is estimated that the population of Russia this year is a staggering 143 million people. Those who are open and confident and those who conceal their sexual orientation would both be counted in this potential poll. The number would be staggering. Just think of it.
In the UK a poll taken last year had a mere 1% of the total population identified as LGBT+ and we are a famously queer friendly country. So to deny a huge mass of people (the figure would much, much larger than our 1%) their rights in an even bigger population is an outrage. Canada is to welcome any fleeing asylum seekers because of this. I’m sure Britain will too. I’d welcome a few into my own home, for goodness sake!
There is much talk of gay athletes boycotting the event, alone with some countries doing the same. Although I feel the UK should do this, it would deprive our sportsmen and women of the foundations or the heights of their carriers. Along side the pouring of Russian vodka down drains in protest, Stephen Fry has asked those taking part, to strike a gesture in support of the Russian LGBT+ community. The gesture is crossing your hands on your chest, like a birds wings. I sincerely hope lots of people will do this in retaliation of those who are suffering. What are they going to do, arrest a skier just after winning a gold medal for doing this? Such lunacy!
Russia never wants to make friends with other countries, unless there is some tactile reason to do so. The delay in releasing Edward Snowdon to the Americans, felt very threatening and infuriating. For a fleeting moment, it was the Cold War again. Imagine what could have happened if they got hold of Snowden's documentation? Although Smallpox has been eradicated, there are rumours both Russia and America still keep some stashed away for a rainy day. Why is any bodies guess. Perhaps to use against the other if one strikes a first blow? Sounds stupid doesn't it? Perhaps paranoia persists. Also their defence of Syria and its government reeks of corruption. Any able minded journalist would tell you so.
Russia is clearly not living in the 21st century and more like in outer space, ungrounded in any recognition of what they are undertaking. Granted there are other countries today that still have the death penalty for being gay. It's just the former Soviet country has kicked up such a fuss about us, that their actions simply can't be ignored. Now is the time to rise up and put an end to this struggle once and for all. My own mother has said ‘Why do I get angry over another country’s actions?’ My brothers and sisters are being persecuted there. We have to do something. To quote the great (or maybe not so great) Lenin: ‘What is to be done?’
Russia will undoubtedly look back on this in years to come with shame, disgust and resentment. Well, at least we hope they will. Any country with an ounce of rational democracy would act in such a way. After their own manically turbulent history, you’d really think they would have learnt by now.
I dread to think what will happen next year...