Want to be horrified? Do a Google image search for “anti-gay attacks in Russia.” Scroll through the photos of gays, lesbians and pro-LGBT rights protesters being arrested, harassed and beaten. Let’s just say that Russia makes places in the United States like Alabama and Virginia and Michigan seem like an LGBT paradise.
While Russia has never been known as a progressive place, life for LGBT people has become considerably more dangerous after the passage of a strict law banning “gay propaganda.” The law was intended to keep impressionable children from hearing that homosexuality is anything but evil. Not surprisingly, the law is very broad and basically makes it illegal to be openly gay in Russia. Rainbow flags are, literally, a crime now.
Needless to say, gays and lesbians who are either planning to attend or compete in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia are a little worried. A lot worried, actually, that they will be fined, put in jail or, say, kidnapped and tortured by anti-gay thugs. Because that’s a legitimate hobby in Russia now.
“The latest laws against so-called gay propaganda … have essentially legalized violence against LGBT people, because these groups of hooligans justify their actions with these laws,” Igor Kochetkov, head of the Russian LGBT Network, told The Guardian earlier this month. “With this legislation, the government said that, yes, gays and lesbians are not valued as a social group.”