The talk that never happened.

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The State Duma introduced a law against not only ‘propaganda’, but also ‘justification of homosexualism’

When that law was not yet in force, nothing stopped people suspected in being of an ‘abnormal’ orientation from being mocked, insulted, fired and killed. I am talking about adults. But LGBT-teenagers are insulted, mocked and pushed away in exactly the same way.And they have nowhere to go for help; sometimes they don’t even have anyone to talk to.

The law, which is concerned with the wellbeing of abstract ‘children’, will hit particular individuals who are struggling enough already. And the society, which is uneducated and unenlightened as it is, will override those teens. It will push them down a dangerous path exactly as it does now.

I want to scream – but I will speak a few quiet words. I have received more than 150 letters from teenage homosexuals in the past two months. I will give the space to speak to them. It is a pity but the MPs won’t listen to either them or me anyway. So, this is a dialogue that never was. And will never be.

Irina Medvedeva, the director of the Institute of Demographic Safety:

– Who told you that they [teenagers] have this [non-traditional] orientation? It is a myth!

Enot, Moscow, 16:

– I was 13 when I fell in love with a girl. I felt so trapped: it was so difficult to confess to myself and even more difficult to tell anyone else. I was trying to suppress the feelings I had for girls, but it was a waste of time.

Tatiana Yakovleva, the first deputy of the head of the Duma fraction ‘United Russia’ (the ruling party):

– Homosexuality is a sexual perversion, contrary to human nature.

Yaroslav, Voronezh, 15:

– I have two legs, two arms and one head. I am not feminine, I don’t have a high-pitched voice. I have an ordinary gait…It is just that I am attracted to my own gender. That is all!

Li, Pskov, 16: I think in the same way as the majority of people. I don’t do anything bad. Yes, damn it! Often enough I behave even better than those who surround me.

Irina Medvedeva:

– Homosexuality is a perversion, ask any sexologist.

Pavel D., Russia, 16:

– I am not sick. Just because I am gay doesn’t mean that I am somehow worse physically or morally in any way.

Vitaly Mlonov, a member of the regional assembly of Saint Petersburg, the author of the original law:

– MTV is a channel that needs to be shut down as inhuman. Why do children have to look at some copulating boys in knickers? It is filth and an abomination.

Catherine, Yekaterinburg, 18:

– Can you imagine it, I used to think homosexuality is abnormal and filthy.

Gays are seen as clowns by my family, whereas lesbians are considered as women who cannot attract men. It is the opinion enforced by the society. Try to remember Russian films and TV shows which depict gays. They are always shown as damaged. How can anything but contempt develop in such an environment? I used to have exactly the same attitude to gays before I discovered my homosexuality.

Vitaly Milonov:

– Homosexuality is a sin, and a very serious one.

N., Petrozavodsk, 14:

– I am a lesbian. And I am Orthodox. My mum raised me up with care, she took me to the church – and I voluntarily accepted the faith. Sooner or later I would have to open up to my parents. Mum is fanatically Christian and my dad is a racist and a homophobe. I love them both very much. What shall I do? I am so afraid. I tried starting conversations over the dinner, in the evening, but that drives my dad absolutely mad. He drinks a bit…Sometimes I flip out and very recently I wanted to commit suicide.

Human from nowhere, 14:

– It doesn’t matter which gender you are or which colour your skin is. It doesn’t matter whom you love. You are an individual. Many say that God is against us, that He will punish us. And then they claim He is good. How? He himself created us. What for? So we are laughed at, hated? That’s just stupid. It is said – do not judge. God will figure it out himself.

A social organisation called ‘For women and children!’ came up with an initiative to include the words ‘gay’ and ‘homosexual’ into the list of swear words as they create ‘a wrong positive attitude to the anti-social thing which homosexuality is’.

– “We believe that sin should not be covered up by incomprehensible foreign words,” – said the activist AllaNorinskaya. – There is a wonderful Russian word ‘muzhelozhtsy’ (literally ‘those who lie with men’, buggers).

Yaroslav, Moscow, 17:

– I will never forget how one guy stared at me for a long time and then said: ‘You’re a goof. A fat goof. And a faggot’. Thousands of all sorts of kids’ jokes cannot depress as much as that phrase.

Vitaly Milonov:

-…When some singer, say, Madonna, brings 12-year-old kids on stage and says, kids, don’t be afraid to tell your parents that you’re gay, they need to be slapped on the mug. If my kid was told that – excuse me, please, take away my mandate – I would have kicked their mugs, sorry. And would have kicked them all out, dammit.

K., City N., 15:

– The most disgusting thing is, our families very rarely can support us if we confess our orientation. You know…It is scary. So scary that the closet people you have cannot support, understand and accept you.

I am afraid to tell my mum that I am a lesbian. She may shout at me, hit me or lock me up in a madhouse. I am more than confident that it would end up like that. I wouldn’t be surprised if I am kicked out of the house either. Anything can happen.

Alice, Moscow, 15:

– It was found out in my family that my friend is a lesbian. When I hear what mother says about her and about what she’d do to me if I turn out to be like her…I am thinking about running away from home.

Also, my friends stopped hanging out with me. They said that they don’t need a monster-friend.

Leonid Roshal, the head of National Medical Assembly:

– I hate homosexuals. And everything of that sort.

Yana, Samara, 14:

– Every day I read something on the internet and cry because of the homophobes’ comments. It is so insulting.

Nikolai Troitski, journalist:

– Honestly, if all these perverts croak Earth will be much cleaner.

Vita, Vorkuta, 17:

– I wish you goodness and happiness. I have just turned 17 and I am a lesbian. Also, there are so many of us. I hope you will sleep peacefully.

Anna, Toliatti, 16:

– Real love is not compatible with hatred. When love lives in your heart you love everyone and the whole world.

I wish you have such a strong and mind-blowing love, that you don’t care what gender, weight, height, age, social status, nationality, faith or mentality the person you love has.

K., City N., 15:

– I am disgusted at your attitude to us. I am disgusted that you hate us: you don’t have a reason to. I am disgusted at your hatred and non-acceptance. I am disgusted that because of you hundreds of teenagers of non-traditional orientation commit suicide. I am disgusted at the fact that you turn a blind eye to us, as if we don’t exist.

Vladimir Putin, the President of the Russian Federation:

– There is no breach of rights of sexual minorities in Russia. They have full rights and freedoms, just like everybody else.

Nyta, Shekino, 17:

– There is discrimination at every step – from acquaintances, some friends and even random bypassers. Many just start voicing their views: ‘Faggot, phew; lesbian, you should all be killed’. What for? For loving somebody?For not being afraid to be yourself? Why should I hide? If the state cares about me, why does it incite persecutions on me by these laws? In a country where a teen can encounter drugs at every corner or become a victim of a paedophile or a maniac the state is protecting me from homosexuality. All this discrimination comes from it, there!

Oleg Betin, governor of the Tambov region:

– Tolerance?! To hell with it! Faggots must to be torn apart! And their pieces must be thrown to the wind!

Olya, Zelenogorsk, 15: ‘

 – I am afraid that they will kill me. Literally. The streets are full of ‘fighters for a healthy gene pool’ nowadays. Their main aim is to destroy people of a non-Russian nationality, of another race or sexuality. They often attack people on the streets and in blocks of flats…I am afraid, how am I to live? They don’t touch us all too often while they still deem us to be kids’.

 

In March 2013 a man was beaten to death for trying to protect a homosexual in Stavropol. A case for ‘intentional serious harming of the health of the defendant, which accidentally led to his death’ has been established.

According to the newspaper ‘Evening Stavropol’

Priest Sergii Rybko:

– The Holy Book orders to stoning of all those of non-traditional orientation. Until this riffraff has been eradicated from our Russian land I completely support the views of those who are trying to clear our motherland from it.

Katya, Yuzhno-Sahalinsk, 17:

– My class veers me. Still does. They don’t like me. They think I am a monster. I have heard so many insults. They said there’s something wrong in my head, that I ‘haven’t tried a good cock yet’ (this one I hear most often). Several times they tried to beat me up in the courtyard.

Anastasia, Serpukhov, 15:

– I have been beaten up. Once they caught me in the evening, beat me up with a club. Later they sprayed something caustic into my eyes. I definitely know it is because of my orientation. They kept hitting me and shouting insults.

The head mufti of the Spiritual Centre of Muslims of Russia Talgat Tadzhuddin:

– Having a non-traditional orientation is a crime against God. The Prophet Muhammad ordered us to kill homosexuals.

T., Moscow, 16:

– Father threatens to bury me. Just says: ‘I will kill you’. Without any pretext. He doesn’t like many things about me: my long hair, my bright clothes, the fact that I do oriental dancing (‘twist my ass’). He made such a scandal on birthday when he saw that I put my head onto my male friend’s lap (and I didn’t mean it like that!). I have a video somewhere, where he says that he didn’t want me, didn’t want to come to the hospital after I was born, that he will shoot me (he is a hunter) and will burn me.

Valentina Matvienko, the chair of the Federation Assembly (upper house of the Duma):

– While a child is being formed, until his or her sexual tastes have formed, he or she needs to be shielded off from being forced a certain sexuality. Once grown up, he or she will make a consensual and free choice.

Ilya, Ufa, age unknown:

– Propaganda is in your heads. Do you really think that gays seduce children and spread their lifestyle through that? Alas, it is not that easy, one can be born that way. Hundreds of other LGBT-children like me realise that, but you, grown up people with degrees, look at it so superficially that it even becomes funny; but there’s no place for laughing after laws like this one.

Elena Mizulina, the author of the Duma propaganda law:

– No adult has the right to enforce their sexual choices on individuals under 18. Propaganda of homosexuality has to be classified as information, prohibited for children.

Ksenia, Moscow, 16:

– What is this pressure, this propaganda? I found out that people like me exist only after I realised that I am a lesbian.

Alexander Krutov, a member of the State Duma (Parliament).

– Homosexuals are death, not life, because they do not produce anyone to this world. You can’t expect the continuation of a bloodline from them.

Andre, Kharkov, 18:

– I live in Ukraine; we haven’t gone far from Russia. My girlfriend and I are planning to immigrate to Canada. It is necessary to leave. Both Russia and Ukraine are sinking back into the Middle Ages. I can’t imagine how one can raise children here.

Gennady Raikov, member of the State Duma (1995-2007):

– How can we solve the demographic problem if there are such perverts? Maybe I am being cruel when I am pressing for criminal persecutions, but they need to be treated medically, that’s for certain.

Yaroslav, Voronezh, 15:

– I do not harm anyone by being gay. I am an ordinary person who has feelings. Moreover, I am just a teenager.

Vladimir Putin:

– Same sex marriages do not produce children. There is a demographic problem both in Europe and Russia.

A., Tomsk, 17:

– Respected lawmakers! I do not respect you for a second. Could you please not intervene in others’ lives but instead concentrate on more interesting and important things?

I don’t intend to propagandise anything, I just want to live. To live with a person I love very much and for whose sake I am ready to endure a lot. And yes, it’s a girl. We have been together for quite a while and we intend to live together for many years. And you are not the ones to decide whether that is right or wrong.

And we will tell our children – yes, we will have children – that our family is absolutely normal.

Let us live in peace.

Vitaly Milonov:

– This [propaganda law] is a slap on the wrist for all those who lost their sense of the motherland and who deviate from our moral aim. I hope the next step will be an introduction of [it being] a criminal offense.

Asya, Moscow, 15:

– There is no such thing as homophobia and you know that very well! Do you want to protect us, the teenagers? Fight drug addiction, which takes away lives, improve education and fight xenophobia which pushes teens to suicide in public education institutions. If you do want to care about children – go ahead! Do not prohibit something that does not exist! We do not need to be shielded off from it, homosexuality is not bad!

This law is making teens miserable. Homophobia from both teachers and other students is growing stronger and stronger. Bullying is constant. There is homophobia on TV and from our parents. It is like a press machine for us. It drives us to suicide. Its only care is to destroy us, children and teenagers! Do you really want to destroy us?

The proposition for the law was accepted by the Duma without a single vote against. On the 1st of June, the national day of the protection of children, Vladimir Putin signed the document making it the official law.

27th of April 2013 (original date of publication; the article revised after the law was signed by Putin – the translator’s comment).

Elena Klimova

The original can be found here.

 

 

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7 thoughts on “The talk that never happened.

  1. Reading “rationalised” attacks on homosexuality just make me sad.
    “No adult has the right to enforce their sexual choices on individuals under 18” – they say as justification of enforcing heterosexuality on every individual under 18.

  2. Its sad to hear these personal stories of the consequences of Putin’s Great Game. Attacking the LGBT community is just a piece of his strategy to position himself as a conservative returning his to past greatness. The truth is, his goal is to simply maintain power. For citizens to accept authoritarianism in their civic life, authoritarianism must infiltrate their personal life. This is the consequence of using real people, whole communities, as instruments for personal gain.

    1. While all of this is so very true, I think in a way Putin himself is a product of a wider political process, both mid- and long-term. A lot of it is to do with Russian mentality, both political and social. Putin wouldn’t be able to gain and maintain power if there weren’t some preconditions for that.

    1. I think that the homophobia in the society is ‘passive’, so most people would actually prefer LGBT-people to be closeted (the ‘behind closed doors’ bedroom mentality), wouldn’t like them to adopt kids or marry, but wouldn’t actively try to destroy them. Those who hunt down LGBT or want to ‘kill all the gays’ are the absolute minority.

      As to the statistics on that website, they do ring true, though the company that made them is not very trustworthy and is often criticised by the Russian opposition movements.

      I think there is a lot of political calculation in state sponsored homophobia, anti-Western and anti-Liberal feelings they promote with other laws (like the international agents law), the very language they would use (their favourite word is a mix of f***t and liberal, see any Milonov interview), anti-immigration feelings (see persecutions of illegal immigrants and the moods they’re trying to provoke). All that feeds into this ‘One Russia/One Orthodoxy/Own way’ ideology. They’re trying to promote a ‘traditional’ Russian Orthodox state and most of this stuff started last year, with a set of new legislation affecting all areas of life. LGBT question is just one side of that. As a lot of LGBT-advocates say, today it’s gays, tomorrow Middle Asians, the day after tomorrow it’ll be Jews, and the day after – you.

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