Russia and Gay Propaganda

The Russian federal law “for the Purpose of Protecting Children from Information Advocating for a Denial of Traditional Family Values” was signed into law on the 30th of June 2013 by President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin after a unanimous vote (436 -0) in favour (bar one abstention) from the State Duma (The lower house of the Russian parliament).

“I have sincere contempt for the Duma’s deputies. All, including the so-called opposition. You have now brought fascism to my country,” – Yelena Kostyachenko, Russian journalist

The Russian government claims that the ban on propaganda to stop homosexuality as being something normal is to preserve “traditional family values” among their population.

The anti-propaganda laws charge fines of up to 5,000 Rubles (roughly US$156) for promoting anything with homosexual content directed at minors – “directed at forming a nontraditional sexual set-up). It also applies to anyone who states that homosexual and heterosexual relationships should be equal, or even that the individuals deserve to be treated equally, as well as to anyone who distributes anything that speaks positively about homosexuality. The fines can go up to 100,000 Rubles (£1,975) for anyone who disseminates “propaganda” online or through the official media. Foreigners who enter Russia do not face long term jail time; but it is still up to 15 days and includes deportation, and they may also be fined the 100,000 Rubles. Organisations can be fined 1 million Rubles and have all activity ceased for up to 90 days.

The bill was criticised of being poorly defined- and I genuinely cannot find anything stating how the bill defines propaganda in any official capacity- but despite this obvious and enormous flaw, Putin had promised to sign it in advance of it passing through the Duma.

“We are talking about protecting children from the respective information” – Vladimir V. Putin

Putin denied that the bill was anti-homosexual, and instead claimed that it was about “protecting children”. The Russian government claims that legalising gay marriage in other countries is a matter effecting those countries’ national security- effectively stating that gay spouses all suddenly become terrorists.

Putin also put into law a bill saying that anyone who offends religious observers can be jailed and fined. This would, of course, include homosexuals when extremist members of certain religious groups are concerned- an obvious example being the Westboro Baptist Church, who picket the funeral of anyone they believe to be homosexual and can reach the grave of, and celebrate their deaths. The bill essentially would mean that in a country with a high propensity for extremist attitudes about whether gay people even deserve to live, LGBT people could essentially be fined for being alive if this bill were to be passed there instead.

This bill was intended to punish actions “demonstrating disrespect to society and done with the goal of offending the believers’ religious feelings”. You can be given up to 3 years in jail for insulting a religious believer in  Russia; although being able to insult someone unlimitedly is obviously not a good thing, to be arrested for insulting someone once of a specific group is a very blatant breaking of the human rights declaration that Russia signed when joining the UN.

“The government is using these instincts – homophobia, xenophobia – to justify its policies against an independent civil society. They are making enemies out of us – not just LGBT society, but any group in society that doesn’t agree with their current politics.” – Igor Kochetkov, Russian LGBT Rights Activist

This isn’t just a reflection of a strange government order, but of a strange society. 45% of Russian people genuinely believe that homosexuality is caused by being seduced into it by propaganda and 47% believe that they do not deserve equal rights to straight people. Although they should have a right to their own culture and their own views on social issues, it should not be at the expense of understanding the science of the issue (which is that people are not drawn in by propaganda, but by their own genetics and by experiences during their formative years). It also makes no sense that the law is supposedly about “protecting children” but it is illegal to publish material speaking out for homosexual rights to adults, displaying blatant hypocrisy and an inability to form a decent justification, or a high level of condescension (essentially stating that all Russians are forever children).

The bill has given the Russian Orthodox Church unprecedented power, and this seems almost to be Putin’s tactic to maintain his power within Russia- to lean on the church as heavily as possible and make attacks on the church illegal so that attacks on him can be made illegal.

“People have become more closed, more depressed, less out than they were. The law makes our activity more difficult, because we never know when the red button will be pressed… If I were to walk along the corridors of my school holding hands with my husband, that would be considered a promotion of non-traditional family values. I won’t be fired because I’m out and gay and promoting non-traditional family values at school. Then there would be a court case. All the authorities like to say at international high-level meetings that there is no discrimination in Russia. So it would be on disciplinary stuff: if I forget my lesson plan or I’m five minutes late to class.” – Konstantin Yablotsky, an organiser of the Open Games

Yablotsky has talked about how the coverage of the Olympic Sochi games and the Open Games together actually worsened LGBT rights in Russia. There was a lot of initial international coverage about the act, with many calls to not attend the games. In interviews, Yablotsky would make it clear that the Open Games were not about protest, or following any political ideology, but about promoting a healthy lifestyle and peaceful dialogue with authorities. However, this somehow got misinterpreted as being a protest, and was reported as such internationally. With the international community looking at the games as being a protest against the government full of LGBT propaganda, it was hardly a surprise that the Russian authorities cracked down so hard on them. Many venues for the Open Games (a sports event like the Olympics but intended for LGBT athletes) cancelled reservations at the last minute, and the police ordered many others to be evacuated because of a fictitious terrorist threat. Generally, outside movements are a good help for social movements, as long as they carefully think through the repercussions of what they are doing. Outsiders need to be careful that they do not portray the situation as LGBT individuals deliberately opposing the state in anyway which is not directly for their own safety and the country’s wellbeing, and merely take the actual concerns of the individuals into account.

There is now a clearer idea of how the law is being enforced. Activists at Askhangelsk and Kazan have been arrested for holding signs at rallies, a newspaper in Khabarovsk was fined for publishing an interview with a teacher who was fired for being gay, a manufacturer of a children’s game that portrayed gay couples was fined, and children’s author Lyudmila Ulitskaya is being investigated because her book series promote homosexuality.

It has also facilitated homophobia; a St Petersburg gay march were showered in sickening gas, and many firms refuse to host LGBT events or groups due to fears of legal action against them. The liberal political opposition feel unable (justifiedly) to associate themselves with giving the LGBT community more rights, even to just basic freedom of speech, and journalists can’t cover the results of the ban. Several teachers have been fired for being openly gay, even if they don’t mention this to their students. Just using the word “gay” is often seen as propaganda. Drag artists have been attacked, even when they are straight and cis-gendered, with significant numbers of audience members ending up hospitalised. Radical Orthodox group, God’s Will, seeks to out professionals who are gay, and force companies to fire them (which is indisputably stupid as if they have to seek them out they are clearly not distributing propaganda about it, and are not posing any threats at all, even if saying you’re homosexual is seen as a threat, to traditional family values).

Groups like Occupy Paedophilia equate homosexuality to pedophilia.

“We [LGBT people] are treated as subhuman, with no civil or human rights. We are social non-entities, and we are even considered diseased and dangerous to society,” – Yulianna Prosvirnina, a drag king, who had her performance interrupted and 4 of her audience members hospitalised.

A Russian priest denounced the football world cup team’s cleats as being a “homosexual abomination”. The Jewish Autonomous Oblast, in Russia’s far east, felt the need to ask the Kremlin to confirm that their flag, featuring a rainbow, is not homosexual propaganda.

LGBT awareness events can be shut down if police find there to be anyone under the age of eighteen attending, and local authorities refuse permits for most types of gatherings.  LGBT rights are further hindered in Russia, as many activists have emigrated to get away from the harsh law.

“We used to do a lot of film screenings as a form of education, but now we can’t show a film unless it gets a certificate from the state confirming that it can be publicly shown. A lot of smaller places that could show films will not allow it in their facilities anymore. Police will attend some our events to check passports.” – Andrei Obolensky, chairman of the Rainbow Association, and LGBT rights group.

Teenagers’ mental healths have been effected as even discussing the possibility that they might not be heterosexual has effectively been outlawed, and they can’t find any sorts of support groups if they decide that they’re not. Teenagers unsure of their sexual identity have become outcasts within their own society. This is especially evident after a series of hate-groups used social media to lure gay teenagers into meeting them and then physically assaulted them- photos of the attacks are then shared on social media, and often receive many ‘likes’ with little police intervention. The ban is being applied without any considerations for child protection, and that knowing the age of every user of each computer might be a little bit bad for safety reasons in a country known to be a source of child trafficking.  Teenage suicide rates are 3x the global average in Russia.

There is a double stigma for gay people who have contracted HIV. There have been parents who have said they wished they had got an adoption after their children said they were HIV positive in the past, who have been able to receive counselling, but that would not be available now.

The ban is really just a symptom of a much bigger problem in Russia- that anyone who has opinions against the president is slowly having their freedom of speech become more and more restricted. The government has been cracking down on anything that Putin thinks may effect constitutional order, defence or security, and to stop anyone who may pose a threat to his presidency speaking out, despite it being a “democratic” country.

Make America Hate Again- 1/209

Hello, welcome to Make America Hate Again, the documentary of the hate Trump has made again. The number on the top represents the week of Trump’s term and the number beneath shows how many weeks there are in total of his term. If you want to find a specific week, either change the URL in the top bar^ or search for “part [week number]” into the search bar

For part 0, the next part, and the latest part.

If in doubt, any quotes come from here.

I would also like to clarify: I don’t think all conservatives are idiots. I disagree with many conservative views, but most conservatives’ points can at least be understood. Trump cannot.

General summary:

(source)

  • Appoint judges “who will uphold the Constitution” and “defend the Second Amendment” (the right to bear arms)
  • Construct a wall on the southern U.S. border and limit immigration “to give unemployed Americans an opportunity to fill good-paying jobs”
  • Re-assess trade agreements with other nations and “crack down” on companies that send jobs overseas
  • Repeal and replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (commonly called the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare)
  • Remove federal restrictions on energy production
  • Push for an amendment to the United States Constitution imposing term limits on Congress[5][6]
  • Eliminate gun-free zones[7]
  • Formulate a rule on regulations “that for every one new regulation, two old regulations must be eliminated”[8]
  • Instruct the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to “develop a comprehensive plan to protect America’s vital infrastructure from cyberattacks, and all other form of attacks.”[8]
  • Label China a “currency manipulator”

January 20th

  • “…against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the earth.” There’s only two ways to remove an ideology. The first, is the Nazi-esque route of killing everyone who has it, and killing everyone who looks like they might have it, and to kill all their relatives so the genes that allow that to be passed on are not passed on. This is not recommended. The second is to not try to eradicate it. When you meet someone from one of those fragile groups, you go out of your way to show them they’re a valuable person. People who believe they’re valuable don’t become suicide bombers. You show them they can function perfectly well in your society. People who fit within a society don’t abandon it to deliberately try bringing it down. One of these methods is far cheaper, and easier, literally anyone can contribute to it, and most importantly of all- it doesn’t need genocide.
  • “I heard when people of sound mind come out of those meetings [briefings about their role as president], they’re either crying, or thrown away by it. The amazing power to destroy this planet that’s in a finger of the president of the United States, the second he takes office is too awesome for a normal human being to imagine.” says Chris Matthews, a member of the Carter administration, as a speechwriter. He said this after describing how the relayed message for the nuclear launch is sent. It sounded a lot like he was about to add “and this is how I know he isn’t of sound mind.” He then referencedan interview: “I asked” What, what should happen to a woman that chooses to have an abortion? Either you’re-” “Well,” he said, “There has to be some punishment for her.” And then he said- he also said- … we… he “wouldn’t rule out nuclear weapons in Europe.” Europe’s small! If you blow up somebody, everybody get’s blown up! And he said “Why did we make ’em if we’re not going to use ’em?”” I think the nuclear comment speaks for itself (in an intense level of moronic), but I can’t comprehend how the idea that a woman should be punished even in situations where she’s aborting to save her life, or when the baby would never survive, or when she was raped, manages to keep entering politics.
  • Chris Matthews also says that Donald Trump sent a christmas card back to him, autographed. “This is a beautiful family, Donald Trump.” Which completely puts him out of touch with the entire population; greetings cards being sent back is a huge insult in the UK, and I assume it is in the US.
  • The secretary of Education, Betsy Devos, wants there to be fire arms in schools to help fight off bears. It’s oddly ironic how stupid that justification is. I’m sure the first stop most bears take when approaching towns (which they do very often) is to directly approach schools, enter them, and start attacking pupils, because obviously, the 30% of the diet that is meat in grizzly bears is best satisfied by yelling, screaming kids who would definitely not scare a bear off just by sheer number of them, and the noise volume. Besides, most animals judge size by the front face, and bear shoulders honestly reach roughly up to many people’s stomachs and no further. She also militantly calls for school privitisation; her entire job will probably be cutting education money and campaigning for private schools. Poor children won’t even be able to afford schooling in Trump’s USA. As I said before, I would not be willing to keep my children in public schooling if I were a parent in the USA at the moment, and this further confirms that.
  • Riots started on Friday in response to the inaugoration.

January 21st

  • “I looked out, the field was, looked like million, million and a half people. They showed a field where there was practically nobody standing there. And they said, “Donald Trump did not draw well.”” Apparently we’re dealing with someone who doesn’t realise that a field which looks about 5% full isn’t a good turn out.
  • Half a million women worldwide stage protest marches against Trump, completely overshadowing his first day as president, in the largest protest in the USA since the Vietnam war. Good work.

January 22nd

January 23rd

  • The White House outright refused to release Trump’s tax returns.
  • The USA has officially backed out of the TPP.
  • Trump again claimed that there were millions of illegal votes against him, making this the official government position.
  • The official replacement for Obamacare has been proposed. States that like Obamacare can keep it, but all others have to adopt whatever else Trump comes up with. I think very few states will opt out of Obamacare.
  • Donald Trump claims that his inauguration day should be an annual day of celebration- the National Day of Patriotic Declaration. This should be concerning to everyone. He didn’t say that inauguration day should be- just his inauguration day. Which rather suggests it’s the last inauguration he thinks they’ll be. It also mirrors comments from the DPRK very closely. It is now official US legislation. It seems to be a tradition for US presidents to rename inauguration day something else for their term, but Patriotic Declaration comes far from Bush’s Prayer and Thanksgiving or Obama’s Renewal and Reconciliation.
  • Sean Spicer said “We can disagree on facts”.

January 24th

  • Four journalists reporting about the protests were arrested. If charged, and all other people arrested already for this in Trump’s term are charged too, then 6 people are facing 10 years in jail and a US$25,000 fine. None of their reports actually featured any valid legal charges, while real crimes were occurring in the rioting on Friday and being entirely ignored. I think this would make them classifiable as political prisoners.

January 25th

  • “”They would all be for the other side,” he said, possibly forgetting that one of the few arrests for voting fraud in 2016 was of an Iowa woman who tried to vote for him twice.” I think we all know about Trump’s constant allegations that millions of people voted “illegally” for Clinton. I’ve also stated before that I suspect he means PoCs, women or Muslims. Here is to highlight his complete disgregard for actual facts. If he cared about facts, he would have checked this out and found this case which he completely opposes with his “informed” conclusion. “”Look forward to seeing final results of VoteStand, Gregg Phillips and crew say at least 3,000,000 votes were illegal. We must do better!”” This sounds like he’s trying to make higher claims of illegal votes just to boost his reputation. He then calls for harsher voting restrictions and checks, which would not have much of an effect nationally, and then for the removal of early voting procedures, which would hinder voting groups who mostly favour democrat (the poor, PoCs, disabled individuals), who cannot physically reach a polling station on voting day, either because their bodies are not able to or because they cannot take time off work. I would say that if only 3 people were found to have commited fraud of 314 million, the rules are already harsh enough. 1 in 100 million is not exactly much.

January 26th

  • President Enrique Peña Nieto and Donald Trump “jointly” cancelled their meeting due to “disagreements on who should build the Mexico-USA border wall”. Trump said that Mexico is not treating the USA “fairly”.

January 27th

  • Banning all immigration and visitors from Somalia, Libya, Sudan, Syria, Iran, Iraq and Yemen, all Muslim majority, while allowing any and all Christian migrants, which is against the US constitution’s statement (in the First Ammendment) on not being a Christian country (or rather, guaranteeing a complete right to religious freedom), but instead being intentionally secular. “If the ban were announced with a one week notice, the “bad” would rush into our country during that week. A lot of bad “dudes” out there!” It takes a lot longer than a week to prepare your documents and walk or smuggle yourself to an airport in a war torn country. One family took 2 years preparing their documents and travel, and arrived in Philadelphia just after receiving their visas, making touch down within moments of the announcement. They were arrested and deported back to Iraq, having spent less than a day in the country they had come to to escape war. This is one example of many I have found very, very easily.
  • These people are not allowed to enter the USA for 90 days, with refugee admissions suspended for 120 days with “case by case” exceptions, with Syrian refugees suspended indefinitely. Only 50,000 refugees are allowed to enter the USA in 2017. He says this will “Keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the US“, even though the 7 banned states are not the states the 19 9/11 bombers were from, which were Saudi Arabia (15), the UAE (2), Lebanon (1) and Egypt (1). Note that none of these were the states that got travel bans (and it would be pretty awful if that were why they did, as 1 person is definitely not representative of any population, and I highly doubt 15 would be, even in somewhere far less populous than Saudi Arabia.