A new Cold War is brewing between Russia and the West, but this time it’s being fought over the rainbow flag.
As the USA rapidly morphs into a continent-spanning version of Fire Island, a homo paradise where tiny fairy sculptors dream there will one day be a 90-foot statue of Harvey Milk wearing leather ass chaps and a butt plug on the US Capitol West Lawn, Russia is currently tightening its sphincter in stubborn resistance to All Things Gay.
Former Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzkhov repeatedly banned gay-pride parades, dubbing them “satanic.” In 2012, Moscow’s local parliament banned such festivities for 100 years.
Vladimir Putin, who is not averse to posing for vaguely homoerotic beefcake photos, has flexed his ample pectoral muscles in defiance of prevailing Western sentiments on issues such as immigration and anti-Christian blasphemy. And now he’s going after The Gays.
In July he signed a law banning the adoption of Russian children by same-sex couples. And in June he green-lit a statute banning pro-gay propaganda aimed at minors. The law passed in the Kremlin by a vote of 436-0. Its wording is broad and vague, and depending on who’s interpreting it and what political axe they’re grinding, it either specifically forbids Russians from proselytizing the “gay lifestyle” to schoolchildren or it broadly seeks to criminalize the very existence of gayness.
A slew of recent violent attacks on homosexuals in Russia have fueled Western leftist outrage. In January, 10 gay activists were beaten by a much larger mob during a protest. In May, a 23-year-old in Volgograd was murdered during a drinking party after revealing to his friends that he was gay. His attackers stripped him naked, jammed beer bottles into his rectum, sliced off his penis, and bashed his head with a 44-pound rock. In June, three assailants stabbed and trampleda 39-year-old gay man to death on the Kamchatka peninsula before stuffing his corpse into his car and setting it ablaze. Last Friday, a group of former paratroopers swarmed and attacked a gay activist in St. Petersburg. The assault was captured on video.
On VK.com, Russia’s version of Facebook, a movement that calls itself “Occupy Pedophilia” is luring male teenagers by posting fake same-sex personals ads, then verbally and physically torturing their prey on video, which is subsequently shared with the world.
Methods of ritual abuse include forced urine drinking, taunting with huge rubber dildos, threatening victims with axes, and mob assault. A Russian nationalist gang called Format18 from the Ural Mountains is credited with starting this lurid trend.
In a video that is equally as stomach-churning, a Berlin drag queen known as Barbie Breakout expressed his outrage with Russia’s anti-gay climate by sewing his lips shut.
In the progressive narrative, homosexuals are being depicted as Russia’s New Jews, the demonized cultural “other” scapegoated for the ancient frosty nation’s myriad modern dysfunctions. The staged outrage has included the predictable kiss-ins and vodka-dumping parties and counterfactual petitions on change.org and a polemical, Godwin’s Law-addled screed in The New York Times from the Vaseline-smeared lips of homo gasbag Harvey Fierstein.
With Russia hosting 2014’s Winter Olympics, many say they’re hoping for a gay Jesse Owens to steal the show and publicly shame Putin. And the protesters have apparently thrust and pushed and aggressively poked at Russia’s financial prostate gland to the point where officials have now promised that the new “anti-gay propaganda law” will not be wielded against foreigners attending the Olympics.
But that’s merely one skirmish in a war that is only beginning. The broader issue involves a civilizational clash regarding who gets to define morality, what’s normal and what’s deviant, and the very idea of Russian nationhood.
A recent poll shows that 76% of Russians support Putin’s anti-gay-propaganda law. Another poll says that only 17% of Russians consider homosexuality to be “natural,” while three-quarters of respondents say it’s either a mental illness or a bad habit. Many in Russia’s dark and cold hinterlands seem to feel that the whole gay agenda—lock, stock, and cock ring—is a rude intrusion by Western imperialists.
Beneath the cultural façade are more fundamental power struggles such as the stalemate over extraditing NSA leaker Edward Snowden and competing US/Russian interests in Syria and the rest of the Middle East.
Vladimir Putin, who has consistently bemoaned declining Russian birth rates, has said that Europe and Russia are “facing a demographic crisis.” He also says that mass immigration would be an inefficient and possibly dangerous threat to Russian cohesion and identity. And to solve this crisis, he favors heterosexual procreation over gay-pride parades.
“Analyzing all the circumstances, and the particularity of territorial Russia and her survival,” Russian lawmaker Yelena Mizulina says, “I came to the conclusion that if today we want to resolve the demographic crisis, we need to, excuse me, tighten the belt on certain moral values and information, so that giving birth and raising children become fully valued.”
This vague, elastic, and eternally slippery notion of “human rights” is often a zero-sum game. On one side of this current conflict are those who value their genetic heritage and national identity; on the other are those who see “gay rights” as a spearhead to establish an international borderless multicultural playground. Both sides are convinced that theirs is the only sane and moral choice. With the battle lines so clearly drawn, there can be no compromise; there will be a winner and a loser.