Homosexuality is not illegal in Russia. Despite this, President Vladimir Putin has recently instituted a raft of laws that violate the rights of gay people living in – and visiting – Russia. (These rights are supposed to be constitutionally protected, FYI.)
In some cases gay pride parades in Moscow (and other cities) have been banned, gay rights groups have been fined for the crime of acting as ‘foreign agents’, and it is now illegal to distribute ‘propaganda’ about homosexuality to minors.
This is has led to calls for boycotts of the 2014 Winter Olympics which will be held in Russia – with many concerned about the safety of Australia’s gay athletes while they are competing.
Broadcaster Stephen Fry has now written an open letter, and urged British PM David Cameron to support moves to strip Russia of the 2014 Winter Olympics because of their new anti-gay stance.
By STEPHEN FRY
Dear Prime Minister, M Rogge, Lord Coe and Members of the International Olympic Committee,
I write in the earnest hope that all those with a love of sport and the Olympic spirit will consider the stain on the Five Rings that occurred when the 1936 Berlin Olympics proceeded under the exultant aegis of a tyrant who had passed into law, two years earlier, an act which singled out for special persecution a minority whose only crime was the accident of their birth.
In his case he banned Jews from academic tenure or public office, he made sure that the police turned a blind eye to any beatings, thefts or humiliations afflicted on them, he burned and banned books written by them. He claimed they “polluted” the purity and tradition of what it was to be German, that they were a threat to the state, to the children and the future of the Reich.
He blamed them simultaneously for the mutually exclusive crimes of Communism and for the controlling of international capital and banks. He blamed them for ruining the culture with their liberalism and difference. The Olympic movement at that time paid precisely no attention to this evil and proceeded with the notorious Berlin Olympiad, which provided a stage for a gleeful Führer and only increased his status at home and abroad. It gave him confidence. All historians are agreed on that. What he did with that confidence we all know.
Putin is eerily repeating this insane crime, only this time against LGBT Russians. Beatings, murders and humiliations are ignored by the police. Any defence or sane discussion of homosexuality is against the law. Any statement, for example, that Tchaikovsky was gay and that his art and life reflects this sexuality and are an inspiration to other gay artists would be punishable by imprisonment.