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Dark times for gays in russia
May 27, 2006 3:13 PM   Subscribe

Newsfilter: More than 100 arrests at Moscow gay protest. Upon others, German MP Volker Beck, Oscar Wilde's grandson and Paris mayor's representatives were injured by a mob of fashist thugs and christian-orthodox fundamentalists at Moscow's first gay pride march, and then arrested by the police. In fraternal unity the violence was called upon by the orthodox church, Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov, the grand mufti of Russia’s Muslims, and Russia’s chief rabbi. Read this article by Peter Thatchell on UK Gay News for a first hand account of the events, and for background information Doug Irland's blog and Scott Long's Moscow diary, published by the Washington Blade.
posted by kolophon (54 comments total)

 
Depressing. Interestingly, the first reports I heard of this on the World Service stated that the police were protecting the Pride marchers from the Nationalist thugs.
posted by jack_mo at 3:29 PM on May 27, 2006


Also, the 'nationalist protester' twink pictured at the top of the page linked first looks as gay as a window. Incorrect captioning?
posted by jack_mo at 3:32 PM on May 27, 2006


fascist
posted by T.D. Strange at 3:39 PM on May 27, 2006


First picture first link: is that guy wearing a leapord print scarf around his neck? And he's in the anti-gay crowd?

i'm confused.
posted by quin at 3:39 PM on May 27, 2006


a clairvoyant quote from Scott Longs's Moscow diary:

I want to march
Friday, May 26th | 12:29 pm

At the podium, Peter Tatchell makes a passionate plea not to settle for standing in front of the locked doors of Moscow's city hall. He wants the crowd to march tomorrow. Foreigners will be there with you, he tells them, the eyes of the world will be on you. You can make a statement as the civil rights marchers did in the American South in the 60s. Your blood will become our rallying cry, the Russian movement's rallying cry.

the fact that the diary hasn't been updated since this morning is a little bit worrisome.
posted by kolophon at 3:42 PM on May 27, 2006


In fraternal unity the violence was called upon by the orthodox church, Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov, the grand mufti of Russia’s Muslims, and Russia’s chief rabbi.

Eesh. Nice to see that "love your neighbor" stuff is still going strong. Stuff like that makes me embarrassed to be a (lapsed) Orthodox Christian.
posted by Opposite George at 3:45 PM on May 27, 2006


T.D. Strange: now i see it too, sorry. english is not my mother tounge.
posted by kolophon at 3:45 PM on May 27, 2006


As we hold this story up at arms length and dissect it, I hope we can find more to talk about than the ironic gay-looking nationalist in the first picture.

These pictures are heartbreaking and frightening to me, and anyone who doesn't think this could happen in their state is more optimistic than I'd like to go through life being. So maybe there are more important questions to be asked here?
posted by hermitosis at 3:47 PM on May 27, 2006


I know I'm a coward because I am nice and safe at home, but I hope they march again. And keep marching. I didn't know about this before, but if I could, I would like to go to support them.
posted by jb at 3:56 PM on May 27, 2006


hermitosis, you are absolutely right. My statement is flippant and i apologize.

My anger that shit like this happens flips that switch in my head and makes me want to do bad things. My snarking is just me trying to direct that anger elsewhere.
posted by quin at 4:01 PM on May 27, 2006


In fraternal unity ... etc.

Jerusalem's first Gay Pride march in 2002 also produced some strange bedfellows (if you'll pardon the expression).
posted by carter at 4:04 PM on May 27, 2006


Meaning - it managed to unite Jewish, Muslim, and Christian leaders against the march.
posted by carter at 4:09 PM on May 27, 2006


Peter Tatchell not Thatchell. Your way sounded too close to Maggie for me.
posted by Sk4n at 4:26 PM on May 27, 2006


s that guy wearing a leapord print scarf around his neck? And he's in the anti-gay crowd?

i'm confused.


What makes you think it's a guy?
posted by IronLizard at 4:32 PM on May 27, 2006


next time i'll stick to copy & paste. sorry again.
posted by kolophon at 4:32 PM on May 27, 2006


.
posted by Mr. Six at 4:36 PM on May 27, 2006


First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me.
posted by elpapacito at 4:40 PM on May 27, 2006


What's the deal with the face masks and covering of mouths?
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 4:46 PM on May 27, 2006


the orthodox church, ...the grand mufti of Russia’s Muslims, and Russia’s chief rabbi.

Nothing brings these swine together faster than homophobia.
posted by atrazine at 4:56 PM on May 27, 2006


What's the deal with the face masks and covering of mouths?

I have a horrible suspicion that it's meant as visible 'protection' against HIV/AIDS. (Either that, or they're just hiding their faces...)

I hope we can find more to talk about than the ironic gay-looking nationalist in the first picture.

Er, I genuinely thought it was a captioning error...
posted by jack_mo at 5:00 PM on May 27, 2006


I thought it was a woman...
posted by stenseng at 5:05 PM on May 27, 2006


Russians really suck.
posted by I Foody at 5:06 PM on May 27, 2006


And yet another instance where the Church is shown for exactly what it is: an arbiter of hate.
posted by Mean Mr. Bucket at 5:08 PM on May 27, 2006


I Foody, the ones who were attacked there were russians too.
posted by kolophon at 5:11 PM on May 27, 2006


Russians really suck.

So if a crowd of them assembled, I guess you'd be right there to shout insults and beat them up. You rule!

Also, this is a depressing story, but thanks for posting it, kolophon. (Don't worry about your spelling.)

Here's a link to Russian news reports, just to piss off I Foody.
posted by languagehat at 5:29 PM on May 27, 2006


Score another one for the Jerusalem Fairy Tales, Volumes One, Two AND Three!
posted by dvdgee at 5:29 PM on May 27, 2006


Not all Jews in Russia are homophobic.
posted by jann at 5:56 PM on May 27, 2006


though most appear to be.
posted by jann at 6:07 PM on May 27, 2006


And here we see what many people would like to bring about in America. They say they don't hate gay people. They say they "hate the sin, but love the sinner". They will say that what happened in Russia wasn't what they want to do here; and they will be lying, to themselves and to us.

I'm sure that many of the anti-gay rights people in America and Europe will express distaste at what happened in Moscow, but that doesn't change the fact that when people believe that another group of people are deviants, are evil, etc, then violence will result.

I will not say that all anti-gay rights types want to bring about this sort of violence; it isn't true. But whether they like it or not their position breeds this sort of violence, they may deplore the violence but they are helping to create it.

Here is the outcome of the policies of George W. Bush, of Bill Frist, of Pat Robertson, of "Reverend" Wildmon. This, oh conservative readers, is what the policies you endorse will ultimately result in, and now is the time to ask yourself if the feeling of self-righteousness you get when you vote to "protect" marriage is worth this. Ask yourself how many gay men and women must be beaten, must be murdered, to allow you to continue to believe in your own moral superiority.

You may not believe in violence, but others do and your actions, your votes, your speeches and editorials about the evils of homosexuality are what fuel those who do the beating and the murdering.

Here we see why you cannot be allowed to win. Here we see why the various laws to "preserve marriage" are so frightening to anyone with gay friends, gay family, or even just a basic sense of human decency. Ask yourself, is this really what you want to see in America?
posted by sotonohito at 6:11 PM on May 27, 2006


WHAT
THE
FUCK
RUSSIA?


You think you would have had to learn a little something about tolerance by now.
posted by loquacious at 6:23 PM on May 27, 2006


"You may not believe in violence, but others do and your actions, your votes, your speeches and editorials about the evils of homosexuality are what fuel those who do the beating and the murdering."

As much as I agree with the sentiment behind this, I cannot agree with it literally. Thank about it: your argument would apply to any political/social position which has proponents who are extremists and violent.

In fact, the more I think about it, the more I can think of examples where the authorities/media/conservatives/whoever have used images of extremist violence to indict the general movement represented that are probably ones you and I find sympathetic. For example, the anti-globalization demonstraters in Seattle a few years ago. (Actually, to be honest, I'm not sympathetic to the anti-globalists; but I do think the general point stands that those holding the power and/or conservatives have very often used the spectacle of violence to besmirch an entire progressive cause.)

Yours is really not a tenable argument. It's backwards. It is the people who promote violence and commit violence who are responsible for violence. If you want to make an argument about this and other examples to achieve your goals, then a better place to start is to not simply connect someone doing violence with someone else supporting the general position; but, rather, you should look at what kinds of positions may or may not be inherently violent. Many, perhaps most or all, intolerant positions are. Of course that would then exclude any intolerant positions that we might believe are ethically justified. So then perhaps you ought to make an even finer distinction between—gasp—good and evil or some such other organizing principle. But then, in many cases, you're led right back to a parity with those who commit violence because they believe that homosexuality is morally unacceptable.

So maybe you should swear off all violence of all kinds, even violence committed in the cause of something you'd otherwise think as good. Such as a war to stop genocide, say.

This is tricky stuff, huh? But slogans are easy.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 6:28 PM on May 27, 2006


Too much hate in the world. It feels like it is getting worse.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 6:38 PM on May 27, 2006


Here's a colourful bit translated from one of the Russian news sources linked above:

At 14:10, an OMON (ed. note: riot/SWAT-style police) cordon appeared at the entrance to the Alexandrovsky Garden, which barred the approach to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. One of the OMON members clarified to the interested onlookers with a smile:

"The fags are planning a march here. Gonna suppress it!"

"Ah!" the gentleman who asked snickered in a bloodthirsty fashion, leading a lady by the arm. "Well, go ahead, the more you supress, the better!"

Several young people with short haircuts were yawning in boredom on the square. They were being filmed by numerous journalists. At 14:25, as if by the Moscow mayor's order, the slight rain grew stronger. I stood under the awning of the Manege trade center. A considerable family drama was unfolding next to me.

"The rain's splashing in her face, everyone's wet, and she's all - parade, parade!" a plump gentleman was expressing his indignance at the behaviour of his spouse, who was standing next to him with two children. "What, you've never seen f...s?"

The spouse peeked out timidly from under the awning and glanced at the deserted square. Evidently the anticipation of the spectacle promised by the same loquacious OMON man from the cordon prevented her from listening to her husband and going into the subway.

However, the spouse was rewarded. Suddenly, journalists dashed towards the entrace to the Alexandrovsky Garden. There was а jam, the cameras began snapping. I got up on the railing, which provided an excellent view of everything.

The spectacle was indeed colourful. Surrounded by journalists and policemen, there was someone by the entrace to the garden who dared to produce the official colourful flag of the gay movement. The brave one was not visible due to the cameras and people surrounding him. The crowd raged all around. An impressive quantity of clean-shaven young men had pulled around him out of nowhere, red-cheeked fellers appeared in papakhas and Cossack outfits, people came wearing black leather jackets with crossed, who turned out to be from the Union of Orthodox Christian Gonfalon Bearers. They chanted regularly: "Mos-cow is not Sodom!" Domestic and foreign journalists ran around nearby, filming all this. Once in a while, a rainbow-coloured object or flower would appear in the crowd, and all present would dash immediately to that spot. Hooting, the nationalists drove off some towards the Vasilievsky descent. A foreigner was squinting nearsightedly next to me and writing something in his notebook. Suddenly he started dashing around and asking in English: "Can anyone translate? What are they shouting?" "Moscow is red, not blue (ed. note: "blue" is slang for gay)" I translated for him the words of a caustic old man in thick glasses standing near us.


Yep, sounds like everything I'd expect from the motherland.
posted by Krrrlson at 6:42 PM on May 27, 2006


I have no objection to violence per se, but I do object to violence against people who have not harmed others.

Let me restate my point a bit less poetically, and hopefully in a clearer manner:

I am saying that the anti-homosexual movement is *inherently* violent (in a bad way), that the violent are not oddball extremists, but the inevitable end result of a movement that is built on hate. I am saying that while there may be a few oddball non-thugs in the anti-gay movement the movement as a whole is thuggish and that the thuggisness is unavoidable.

When you have a movement based on the concept that behavior X is wrong, is evil, is immoral, and is a threat to society violence will crop up against those who engage in behavior X.

You can't tell people "gays are evil, gays will destroy society, gays want to recruit your children, and they're mostly pedophiles anyway" and then act surprised when you get results such as we see in Moscow. This is not a deviation, but the norm, and it doesn't matter if anti-gay activist X publicly claims he deplores the violence, the very nature of the movement as a whole produces violence, and therefore anyone who supports the anti-gay movement is tacitly endorsing the beating and murder of homosexuals regardless of what they say publicly.

You don't have to love homosexuality, or even like it, but saying that homosexuals are out to destroy society, or simply that homosexuality will destroy society regardless of the intent of homosexuals, will result in violence against homosexuals.
posted by sotonohito at 6:52 PM on May 27, 2006


Morons. They're everywhere.
posted by signal at 6:57 PM on May 27, 2006


"When you have a movement based on the concept that behavior X is wrong, is evil, is immoral, and is a threat to society violence will crop up against those who engage in behavior X."

Well, sure. "We" (meaning, I think, people likeminded with you and I) do that, too, regarding things we think are evil, immoral and a threat to society.

But I think what you're trying to say, or rather how I'd say it, is this: that the "hate the sin, love the sinner" doctrine is reasonable—laudable, even (compared to no middle ground and just calling for violence)—but that the "hate the sin" part must be understood to implicitly call naturally forth in people a violent instinct. Therefore, the burden is on the "hate the sin, love the sinner" proclaiment to take some responsibility to reduce/restrict/renounce that violence that they are, however unwillingly, encouraging.

And, personally, I think if they do that, they've managed their personal moral responsibility in that regard. We can't just say that they shouldn't hate evil at all, or speak out against evil at all, because you and I hate evil and speak out against evil—of which this gay-bashing is an example.

In the end, our responsibility and the necessity in our argument with the homophobes is essentially to argue against the supposed wrongness of homosexuality. That is where everything begins, and that is where everything will end. Arguing against consequences, or choice, or anything else is only ancillary to the main conflict: homosexuality is not wrong.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 7:02 PM on May 27, 2006


Too much hate in the world. It feels like it is getting worse.

It is. It's what Spalding Gray referred to in a moment of philosophical desperation as "An invisible cloud of evil that circles the earth and touches down at random." Except it's starting to feel like a blanketing smog, rather than the tip of a twister.
posted by slatternus at 7:18 PM on May 27, 2006


Boy, someone doesn't have a very good grasp of history. Unless the benchmark here is 1996 or something. Oh, wait. The Balkans. Oh, well, then. Sometime. The world's always going to hell in a handbasket. That's what the conservatives believe, anyway.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 7:23 PM on May 27, 2006


Contrary to what most people would like to believe, civilization is just a very, very thin veneer covering what remains a violent and exceptionally divisive species.
posted by nightchrome at 9:24 PM on May 27, 2006


An invisible cloud of evil that circles the earth and touches down at random.

And after, hopefully, the sky clears. Hopefully.
posted by NationalKato at 12:16 AM on May 28, 2006


.
posted by kyrademon at 12:29 AM on May 28, 2006


Because the monkeys desperately want to fit in with the other monkeys.

Which is hard to do, because a lot of the monkeys seem to hate each other. This is what really separates them from the other animals. These monkeys hate. They hate monkeys that are different. Monkeys from different places, monkeys who are a different color-
posted by quite unimportant at 1:44 AM on May 28, 2006


Krrrlson

I don't mean to criticize your translation (or whoever's it is), but how does one snicker in a bloodthirsty way?
posted by Target Practice at 1:54 AM on May 28, 2006


Also, what's with this guy:



Is he afraid he'll get "the gay" if he breathes in their air?
posted by Target Practice at 1:57 AM on May 28, 2006


Russia is all mob these days so I guess it's like a Vito/Sopranos thing.
posted by HTuttle at 2:16 AM on May 28, 2006


Ethereal Bligh "Well, sure. 'We' (meaning, I think, people likeminded with you and I) do that, too, regarding things we think are evil, immoral and a threat to society."

Indeed, and, as I said earlier violence is not inherently wrong or bad. My criteria is harm, if behavior X doesn't harm non-concenting others, or endanger non-concenting others, it isn't violence worthy. I may dislike that behavior, but establishing a movement which will inevitably result in violence against the practitioners of behavior X is wrong unless behavior X causes harm to non-concenting others.

Take slavery, I'd have had no problem at all with a movement which defined slavery as evil, morally wrong, and an institution likely to damage or destroy civilization. Such a movement would inevitably have resulted in violence against slave owners and that sounds perfectly fine to me. The reason, naturally, being that a system of slavery causes harm to non-concenting others.

Homosexuality does not cause harm to non-concenting others. Even if a person chooses to make an argument that homosexuality causes harm, the only people being harmed are those who have agreed to engage in homosexuality [1] so it isn't a problem.

"Therefore, the burden is on the "hate the sin, love the sinner" proclaiment to take some responsibility to reduce/restrict/renounce that violence that they are, however unwillingly, encouraging."

Utterly disagree. The violence you speak of cannot be restricted or reduced, but is inherent to the nature of the movement. The only solution is to stop speaking of homosexuality in terms which *inevitably* result in violence against homosexuals. They (the anti-gay types) don't have to like gays, don't have to like homosexuality, and can continue to believe that its morally wrong, and even say as much. But when they describe homosexuality as a threat to society they've crossed the line into encouraging violence. People take threats to society seriously, and you will get violence against whatever you declare to be a threat.

Naturally not engaging in the sort of propaganda which inevitably results in violence will take a lot of steam out of their movement. Compare the anti-smoking movement to the anti-gay movement. The anti-smokers believe (correctly) that smoking is harmful to the smoker, believe (correctly) that smoking stinks and therefore shouldn't be practiced in public. When was the last time you saw a mob of anti-smoking thugs beat a smoker? How many smokers have been murdered by people who later claimed that they suffered from "smoker's panic" when they saw him light up?

The difference between the groups is not the intensity of their belief, is not the frequency with which they speak, it is the nature of their arguments. Anti-smokers don't tell you that smokers are out to ruin civilization, and as a consequence their movement is a) largely ineffective, and b) doesn't result in violence against smokers.

That's what I meant when I said that this must be a wake up call for American and European anti-gays. What was seen in Russia was not an aberration, but is unavoidable for a movement using their rhetoric. Fred Phelps, much as his fellows like to claim that he doesn't represent them, is the true face of the anti-gay movement.

I said "When you have a movement based on the concept that behavior X is wrong, is evil, is immoral, and is a threat to society violence will crop up against those who engage in behavior X."

I stand by that statement, and that's why I think that responsible people need to avoid that argument unless they are prepared to accept the inevitable violence that results when that argument is used. Sometimes behavior X is worth causing beatings and murder over, and in those instances I'll embrace the dangerous rhetoric wholeheartedly. The question the anti-gays must ask themselves is: "is my opposition to homosexuality worth helping thugs beat and murder homosexuals?" My point is that they cannot pretend that the violence is an aberration, or something they aren't associated with. When you use the sort of arguments they are using violence against homosexuals will result, therefore they must either accept and embrace the violence, or stop using those arguments. To continue using those arguments, while claiming to oppose violence, simply makes them liars when they claim not to endorse violence.

[1] Naturally, rape whether it is heterosexual rape or homosexual rape is, by definition, non-concenting.
posted by sotonohito at 3:15 AM on May 28, 2006


and for those of you who think it can't happen here let's not forget this George Bush quote:

"I was able to get a sense of his soul, a man deeply committed to his country and the best interests of his country,"

Someone should ask George if he still feels the same way about his buddy Vlad.
posted by any major dude at 7:04 AM on May 28, 2006


Ethereal Bligh writes "'You may not believe in violence, but others do and your actions, your votes, your speeches and editorials about the evils of homosexuality are what fuel those who do the beating and the murdering.'

"As much as I agree with the sentiment behind this, I cannot agree with it literally."


Try being on the receiving end of this bullshit, EB. It is a literal truth that violence against queer folk is the logical extension of the bigotry coming from these rightwing fuckheads.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 7:41 AM on May 28, 2006


Krrrlson

I don't mean to criticize your translation (or whoever's it is), but how does one snicker in a bloodthirsty way?


It was a bit of a rush job, so the man actually "hemmed" in a bloodthirsty fashion (as in, "A short cough or clearing of the throat made especially to gain attention, warn another, hide embarrassment, or fill a pause in speech."), but that's not much clearer either. So, uh, ask the author of the article. It's here.
posted by Krrrlson at 8:58 AM on May 28, 2006


Most homophobic men have repressed homosexual desires. Just sayin'.
posted by Hildegarde at 9:35 AM on May 28, 2006


Yeah, and every woman who ever said no to my advances was a lesbian.
posted by HTuttle at 10:18 AM on May 28, 2006


the man actually "hemmed" in a bloodthirsty fashion

Yeah, the verb is хмыкнул [khmyknul], which is literally 'to make the exclamation hm.' It's particularly silly because what the guy is actually quoted as khmyking is "Ah!":
- А! - кровожадно хмыкнул спросивший гражданин.

But then the standard of writing in Russian newspapers is even lower than that in American ones. Also, khmyknut' is such a wonderful verb I can't really blame the guy for shoehorning it in.
posted by languagehat at 10:26 AM on May 28, 2006


HTuttle, do you have a study to back that up?
posted by Hildegarde at 3:10 PM on May 28, 2006


Re: Hildegardes homophobe/repressed homosexuality study link, the question remains "is it possible that anxiety played a role in the observed penile differentiation?"

I would think a simple way to test this would be to then show something generally reprehensible (one would have to control for prejudices such as anti-semitism or something), like a concentration camp, and observe the changes between the two groups, and see if both then are uncomfortable with these images in the same manner (increased penile circumference).

Also, we have fMRI these days, wouldn't that sort of imaging be able to track more effectively the difference between fear/anxiety response and sexual attraction response? I don't know, IANAfMRIologist (???) I'd like to see further research. I'm apt to agree with this viewpoint, but my prejudices do not a factual world view make... Much as I insist otherwise.
posted by symbioid at 11:42 PM on May 28, 2006


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