Homo’phobic’ Russia

I have been wanting to start writing a blog for a while, being a typical lazy student I have been putting it off, however now I think I simply didn’t have the motivation  nor the material I felt strongly enough about to do it.  After watching Channel Four’s documentary ‘Hunted’ about anti-gay Russia, I feel literally fired up and so angry and passionate and upset all at the same time. It’s been, for me, a visual prep talk and motivated me to do something about, what can’t even be described, the pure abomination that is currently occurring in Russia. Even if it is a simple blog entry.

I’m pretty sure I heard Stephen Fry say somewhere ( I will find it but feel like I have to pour this all out at once) that he does not believe homophobia should be described as such, because to do so would suggest that homo ‘phobia’ is something that is medically defined and so therefore accepted. I whole heartedly agree. A phobia is something we are intrinsically scared of, our brain, for some reason, holds an irrational fear over a particular object or feeling. However anti-gay behaviour is not something we are born with, it is developed over time and reinforced by minor parts of society. This label of such thought says: it is OK to hate homosexual people, or be scared of them……. It is definitely not ok.

I am not gay, however it makes me (sorry for the cliché, it could be the hot chocolate I just scoffed) sick to my stomach. I genuinely feel ill that Russian society thinks it is OK to victimize another human being for liking romantically the same sex gender. That it is OK for anti-gay vigilantes in Russia to beat within an inch of their lives homosexuals for loving someone the same sex. That it is OK to pour piss as a ritual over gay people that they ‘capture’. That it is OK to rape, torture, and physically abuse gay men. That it is OK to rape lesbians in public. That it is OK to say out loud ‘we will ruin their lives’.

These vigilantes are mindless angry members of society being manipulated by the government. That is definitely not to say they are blameless or forced by government to commit these heinous acts, the complete opposite. But there is something far bigger than these pawns on the chess board. The key players,government and religion, are the bigger perpetrators of this anti-gay movement. Russian Government recently enforced a loose ban on “non traditional” sexuality, and information of such is illegal to anyone under the age of 18. The transparency of this is insulting to the human race. The central agenda and at the heart (ironic) of Russian Government’s recent law is the supposed protection of their children and younger generations against non traditional sexuality. Both the Russian Orthodox Church and the current government under Putin’s regime advertise this framework as the right way to live and to bring up Russia’s youth, the lie that is being spun is that homosexual people and paedophilia is synonymous, which is all too readily accepted by the majority of Russian society.  The truth is, the blaring obvious truth apparent to everywhere but Russian Society itself, is that the Government are blaming the gay movement, are labelling and centralizing the social anxieties of current times onto homosexuals in Russia. The anger that their general society has for the lack of employment, the downfall of the economy, the downfall of education, the downfall of Russia as a political and economic force, is shifted onto the perceived minority (homosexuals) because it is weaker than the majority.

Within the ‘Hunted’ programme, Channel Four showed a group of anti-gay vigilantes literally hunting gay people, as though it were a Sunday activity and for some of them, it was.  The documentary showed this group of narcissistic fascists tricking a gay man into an apartment, where a group of 10+ men waited, led by the only woman Katya (sp) where they then physically threatened him and interrogated him, asking his name, job, if his parents knew he was gay and how they would feel. As the audience, you could not help but feel had the channel four film makers not be there, that something much worse and immoral would of happened. After an hour of physical interrogating, including forcing him to do a dance for them, they let him go. This had all been filmed and without question it would be posted online – meaning he would undoubtedly be sacked and from that day on, be recognised by every anti-gay person in Russian Society who is familiar with these sites.  Sadly in Russia that is the majority. It is unfathomable to me why this group of people, feel they have the god-given right, further than that how they feel it is their duty, to treat people this way. To demoralize, traumatize, essentially destroy, a fellow human being, someone who you pass in the street, because he is gay.

Here is the image of the gay man who has been blurred to prevent further humiliation, with the ring leader ,Katya, and two of the men who consider themselves servers of justice. As you can see the vigilantes are not scared to be violent with this man on TV or on any of their blog posts. One of them asks Katya ‘shall we pour piss on him?’ to which she replies ‘no I can’t be bothered’. hunted-channel-4 It is not a question of morals for her, but a question of activity. How easy is it would be to substitute ‘shall we go to the gym today?’. It shows the absolute acceptance and systematic violence by the Russian Government that it is OK for homosexuals to be treated this way by other members of society, more than OK  it is perceived as something they are entitled to do.

The programme also showed some harrowing footage from such sites which is, for me, is indescribable; it is not within my vocabulary. I will post the link to watch the programme on this blog, I feel witnessing it and experiencing the physicality of the programme is the only way to truly understand how provoking it is, and how immediate the situation in Russia is at the moment.

Throughout this post you will probably have noticed language that insinuates that these anti-gay activists in Russia are Nazi like. That is absolutely what I am suggesting. There are solid resemblances to the holocaust and its beginnings, to what is happening here, right now, in Russia. What is worrying is that the problem is much deeper than acts of physicality – it is the mindset of society and what’s more, how the current  adult generation is manipulating the youth. How the children of Russia will be taught that homo sexuality is wrong, it is illegal, it is not OK to like someone of the same sex, there is something wrong with them if they do and they should treat anyone of that ‘defect’ in that way. It is already evidential, in the high suicide rate of youths in Russia, that young people feel they are internally wrong for being gay. It makes me want to cry that people, of my age, feel that they would rather be dead than face the world as it is and as they are. That they feel like death is more desirable than living.

So before you rush home, or not today if you live in London, at least be thank ful that at home waiting for you (if you’re lucky haha) is your legal loving partner. I am unable to offer words of advice, or hope because I can’t see what can be done within our power solely as an individual of society, except spread awareness and knowledge and disassociate  yourself from anyone who makes you feel like ‘gay’ is wrong.

I don’t know who said it, but I am familiar with the quote ‘those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it’. It speaks for itself here.