Stop Russia’s Anti-Gay War: Boycott Russia, Olympics, and Sponsors

http://www.flickr.com/photos/madw/9007646435/sizes/l/in/photolist-eHYxsT-9gdDmX-8wKWxf-8wGYFt/

Gay activist attacked in St Petersburg protesting Putin’s law making it illegal to ‘promote’ homosexuality: pic, Roma Yandolin

What are we going to do about Russia? Rising anti-gay violence, including murders, foreign gays detained and deported, laws making it illegal to say you’re gay, rumours of a plan to take children from LGBT families . . . could it be worse?

Vladimir Putin has begun emulating the tsars, singling out a marginalised group and whipping up hatred against them, with the help of the Russian Orthodox Church, to deflect attention from his own shortcomings. The Imperial target of choice was the Jews: Putin is going after gays and lesbians. We are the target of a pogrom.

Putin is unpopular with a significant slice of the Russian population. Only last month thousands marched in protest over the continued detention of 27 people who protested ahead of his inauguration last year.

Four days ago the leader of those earlier protests was unexpectedly released on bail pending his appeal against a 5yr jail term, so that he can run in a Moscow mayor election on September 8. The Kremlin is ‘rattled’.

So Putin needs an internal ‘enemy’, and he’s chosen us. Local laws against gay pride parades have been viciously enforced, in Moscow and St Petersburg. And a new national law has been passed, ostensibly to protect minors from homosexual propaganda.

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Gay rights demonstrators also attacked in Moscow: Roma Yandolin

But it does very much more than that, as Peter Tatchell has written. And worse is predicted, with rumours of new laws to take children away from same sex couples and single LGBTI. Or anyone known to be gay.

There’s a growing international campaign protesting Putin’s law and its effects, which include murder: Broadway star Harvey Fierstein (Torch Song Trilogy, La Cage Au Folles) wrote in the New York Times that the Russian President has opened a war on homosexuals.

The law will criminalises virtually all signs of gayness, such as having a rainbow patch on your backpack, which make it almost impossible to attend the Sochi Winter Olympics 2014 safely – if you’re gay. If you’re caught, you could be jailed, fined and deported. It’s already happening.

Travel industry website eTurboNews notes: “It is now literally illegal in Russia to say that you are gay. It is illegal to kiss your partner in public — say, after you win a gold medal. It is illegal for a gay athlete to wear the rainbow flag. Or even to acknowledge during an interview that they are gay — or for the foreign press to acknowledge it — unless they mention that gay sexual orientation in a negative way.”

The International Olympic Committee has tried to downplay the problem, but their bland reassurances that all would be well blew up in their face when four Dutch gay activists were arrested under the new laws

“The Russian online newspaper Lenta reported that police detained the activists at a summer camp in the city of Murmansk in the northwestern part of the country during a human rights seminar in which a local LGBT advocacy group was participating. The publication said Kris van der Veen, president of LGBT Groningen, a Dutch LGBT advocacy organization, gave a lecture on gay rights.

Rolf Jurjens of LGBT Groningen said van der Veen and the three other Dutch LGBT rights advocates had traveled to the city to film a documentary about gay life in Russia. Local media reports indicate van der Veen interviewed a 17-year-old teenager before authorities took him and the three other activists into custody.

Harvey Fierstein pointed out that the Olympic Committee was relying on a very small concession by the Russian authorities:

The International Olympic Committee has gotten a promise that [the Russian authorities] will not arrest any gay Olympians. That doesn’t say anything about trainers or reporters or friends or fans of anything else. And what the f–k does it matter, anyway? You shouldn’t be arresting people because they’re gay. You shouldn’t! And going along with it is wrong. I don’t know what the Olympic Committee will do because the Olympic Committee has blinders on and cares only about itself.

Petitions are proliferating, against Putin, Russia, the Olympics. But if we want to have any chance of making an impact, the only chance is to kick Putin in the nuts, figuratively speaking. And the best way to do that is to boycott the Sochi Winter Olympics and everyone who sponsors them.

WHAT TO DO

Write to your MP & Senator

Write to the Minister for Sport Senator Don Farrell

Write to the Prime Minister

Write to Australian Olympic Committee

Sign the petition asking SPONSORS to withdraw support

Write to the sponsors themselves asking them to withdraw and tell them you’ll be boycotting their products.

THE MOST SENSITIVE NERVES ALL THESE PEOPLE HAVE ARE IN THEIR HIP POCKET: CHOKE OFF THE MONEY AND THEY WILL START TO LISTEN.

SOCHI 2014 SPONSORS

Sochi Winter Olympics Partners are: http://www.sochi2014.com/en/team/partners/

INTERNATIONAL SPONSORS

Coca-Cola

Atos Worldwide ITDowGE
McDonald’s
Omega
Panasonic
Procter & Gamble
Samsung
Visa

Sochi 2014 National Partners

Aeroflot
BOSCO Sportswear
MegaFon
RZD
Rosneft
Rostelecom: Voice, Data, IP
Sberbank
About VOLKSWAGEN Group Rus

Partners

Ingosstrakh
PwC
Sportlotto

Sochi 2014 Official Suppliers

Avaya
Baltika
EF English First
Adamas
Ottobock
Jet Set Sports
LLC Yamaha Motor CIS
POWER TECHNOLOGIES
Kommersant

Sochi2014 Suppliers

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About the author

Veteran gay writer and speaker, Doug was one of the founders of the UKs pioneering GLBTI newspaper Gay News (1972) , and of the second, Gay Week, and is a former Features Editor of Him International. He presented news and current affairs on JOY 94.9 FM Melbourne for more than ten years. "Doug is revered, feared and reviled in equal quantities, at times dividing people with his journalistic wrath. Yet there is no doubt this grandpa-esque bear keeps everyone abreast of anything and everything LGBT across the globe." (Daniel Witthaus, "Beyond Priscilla", Clouds of Magellan, Melbourne, 2014)