Misguided Western criticism of Russia’s anti-gay laws
In the last few weeks I’ve been bombarded by propaganda, in social media and elsewhere, urging protests and boycotts of the Winter Olympic Games being held in Russia this year because of their anti-gay laws.
Much of the criticism has been so hyped and over-the-top that I simply have not believed it and not passed such messages on. Many of them made exaggerated claims that sounded wrong to me, but it would take too much effort to check, and as there are far more serious human rights abuses in the world, I thought it was a tempest in a tea cup, and not really worth the bother of checking to try and ascertain the facts under the hype. It would be a bit like the rest of the world boycotting the soccer World Cup in South Africa over e-tolls. I’m against e-tolls, and I’m against depriving gay people of their rights simply because they are gay, but there are bigger issues in the world.
Now, it seems, someone has saved me the trouble, and has ascertained the facts for me:
Amid the furore, it’s easy to overlook some simple facts. Homosexuality in Russia – unlike more than 40 countries in the Commonwealth and 70 worldwide – is not illegal. To date, over six months since the law came into force, fewer than a dozen people have been fined for “gay propaganda”. Not a single person has been jailed. Russian police do not have powers to detain people they suspect of simply being gay or lesbian, as a New York Times leader erroneously stated last year. If this were so, then how do we explain the fact that gay clubs are able to advertise and operate in Moscow and other big cities?
I don’t necessarily agree with everything in that article, but I do agree with the main point, that the criticism of Russia has been overhyped.
In 1980 the US led a boycott of the main Olympic Games in Moscow because the USSR had invaded Afghanistan. Some twenty years later the US itself invaded Afghanistan, killing thousands of people, and now US gay rights activists are urging another boycott of the Russian Olympics because a dozen people hasve been fined.
That gives me the impression that gay rights activists are utterly self-centred, have no sense of proportion, and lack any credibility whatsoever.