Vladimir Putin’s LGBT Refuseniks

We are still in our own struggle for LGBT rights, but I guess we are farther along than Russia.

On June 16, 1961, the Soviet ballet star Rudolf Nureyev slipped away from his KGB minders while on tour in Paris, and within a week, he was doing his jetés and echappés in The Sleeping Beauty with a French company. Ten years later, 13,000 Jewish refugees left the Soviet Union; over the next three decades, the U.S. accepted hundreds of thousands. In 1979, when Bolshoi dancers Valentina Kozlova and Leonid Kozlov ducked out the garage door of the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, the U.S. granted them asylum the next day.

Today it’s not ballerinas and Jews fleeing Russia in droves, but a new group of Putin-era refuseniks: LGBT people. Facing a discriminatory new law against “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” and a spike in homophobic violence, many see getting out of Russia as a matter of life and death.

Slava Revin, a 31-year-old activist who arrived in the U.S. in July, is part of a fast-growing community of young LGBT Russians who’ve flocked to New York, Washington, D.C., and other U.S. cities. Like the Soviet Jews and dissidents who fled decades before them, Revin and his peers have formed a tight network, helping one another adjust to life in America and advocating for the rights of those left behind.

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Putin Says He Has Gay Friends But…

Okay so Putin claims to have gay friends – and he even likes Elton John!!! – but he still equates LGBT folk with pedophiles. I wonder how his “pedophile” friends view this opinion.

He loves Elton John and has gay friends, but Russian President Vladimir Putin equated LGBT people to pedophiles and suggested “cleaning up” Russia of their influence in a robust defense of the country’s anti-gay law before the Winter Olympics in Sochi next month.

In an interview taped Friday and broadcast Sunday, Putin told Russian and foreign news anchors that nobody who protested the law during the Olympics would be arrested for “gay propaganda” and claimed to be uninterested in people’s sexual orientation. A transcript of the interview was posted on the Kremlin’s website.

“None of our guests will have any problems with this,” Putin said. “There are no fears for people with this nontraditional orientation who plan to come to Sochi as guests or participants,” he added.

Nonetheless, Putin attempted to deflect the firestorm of international criticism over the law that has overshadowed the Games.

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Obama Picks Openly Gay Delegates For Winter Olympics

Well, well, well Mr President. I must applaud you for this step. A very bold move.

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Tuesday announced his delegates to the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. And, in what may be a thumb in the eye to Russian President Vladimir Putin over his crackdown on gay rights, two of Obama’s delegates are openly gay.

Billie Jean King, the tennis legend, and Caitlin Cahow, an Olympic medalist in women’s ice hockey, are both part of the U.S. delegation. Both are out lesbians.

Another member of the U.S. delegation, figure skating Olympic medalist Brian Boitano, routinely declines to answer questions about his sexuality, saying “everybody’s got their own path” to discovering who they are.

Others in the delegation include University of California President Janet Napolitano, the former Homeland Security secretary; U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul; White House Deputy Chief of Staff Rob Nabors; Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, and speed skating Olympic medalists Bonnie Blair and Eric Heiden.

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German ministers say Russian gay law smacks of dictatorship

Well well, it’s nice to see at least one politician standing up and saying something about this crap from Russia. Not like any American politicians would do that.

BERLIN (Reuters) – Two German cabinet ministers have added to criticism of Russia’s anti-“gay propaganda” law, saying President Vladimir Putin appeared to be leading his country into a “flawless dictatorship”.

The words chosen by the two members of the Free Democrats (FDP), the party of the Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, himself gay and a critic of the legislation, play on comments by former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder that Putin was a “flawless democrat”.

The criticisms indicate how once-close ties between the two countries have chilled since Angela Merkel took over from Schroeder as chancellor in 2005.

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Is Russia moving backward?

I’m so glad that I don’t live in Russia. There’s a lot more I could say, but I won’t. I’m sure many will form their own opinions.

MOSCOW (AP) — More than two dozen activists were detained in Moscow on Tuesday as they were protesting a bill that stigmatizes the gay community and bans the giving of information abouthomosexuality to children.

The protesters attempted to rally outside the Russian State Duma before what is expected to be a final vote on the bill banning “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations.”

Police moved in after supporters of the bill started showering the protesters with eggs and water. Some of the protesters who were not detained were viciously attacked by masked men on a central street a mile away.

The Kremlin-backed legislation imposes hefty fines for providing information about the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community to minors or holding gay pride rallies.

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