Elsewhere we review the aggressive anti-gay legislation and extreme violence being suffered by gays in Russia. It's a dark picture. But now the international community is beginning to fight back. Here come the early signs.
1. A petition asking the major sponsors and partners of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic games to condemn Russia’s anti-gay laws is now available online. The sponsors are: Coca-Cola, Panasonic, Samsung, Procter & Gamble and Visa.
Will these companies want to be tarnished by an Olympics where LGBT athletes and spectators may face harsh violence, prison, and brutality? RUSA LGBT, a Russian-speaking American association for members of the gay community adds, "It’s time for these companies to put their support for LGBT people first, and send a message to Russia that their anti-gay laws are not only contrary to basic human rights, but fly in the face of the spirit of the Olympic Games, which celebrate human dignity and community above all else."
Click here for the link to sign the petition.
2. There's a call for athletes to boycott the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games, a call that gay athlete Johnny Weir is resisting.
He says, "To have a boycott would not only negate the career of some athletes who have only one chance at competing at the Games, but also the over-time shifts an exhausted father takes to make ends meet, or the social acclimatization of a brother who can’t go on spring break because his brother needed another costume, or the mother who works part-time at a job far beneath her, just so she can afford to watch her first born perform for the world. The Olympics are not a political statement, they are a place to let the world shine in peace and let them marvel at their youthful talents.
Though he calls Russia's stance on the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community "a travesty of international proportions," Weir vows to compete in the 2014 Olympic Games if he qualifies, adding: "There isn’t a police officer or a government that, should I qualify, could keep me from competing at the Olympics. I respect the LGBT community full heartedly, but I implore the world not to boycott the Olympic Games because of Russia’s stance on LGBT rights or lack thereof. I beg the gay athletes not to forget their missions and fight for a chance to dazzle the world!"
3. NBC Sports Group Chairman Mark Lazarus has said NBC would provide coverage of Russia's anti-gay laws if the controversial measures surface as an issue during the upcoming Games.
That could generate some heat as the IOC is always keen to downplay any political issues. If ever an up-play was needed, it is now.
4. Not to forget the plea for consumers to boycott the purchase of Russian-made products.
The Fountainhead Pub in Vancouver Dumps Russian Vodka in Protest
A number of prominent gay bars have already boycotted the use of Stolichnaya, better known as Stoly, the popular vodka with production connections to both Latvia and Russia.
Stoly CEO Val Mendeleev released an open letter to the Advocate last night addressing concerns over his product's ties and financial contributions to the Russian government. Mendeleev writes,
"The recent dreadful actions taken by the Russian Government limiting the rights of the LGBT community and the passionate reaction of the community have prompted me to write this letter to you. I want to stress that Stoli firmly opposes such attitude and actions. Indeed, as a company that encourages transparency and fairness, we are upset and angry. Stolichnaya Vodka has always been, and continues to be, a fervent supporter and friend to the LGBT community. We also thank the community for having adopted Stoli as their vodka of preference."
So far, bars in NYC, LA, Miami, Vancouver, Toronto, London, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, San Diego and Sydney have ignored Mendeleev and participated in the ban.
5. And last for now, it's the "Dildo for Putin" concept.
If, after all the above excitements, abstaining from Stoly or promising to avoid/boycott/slag off the 2014 Sochi Olympics feels a little inadequate, here's a further way to show your feelings. Why not mail Russian President Vladimir Putin a dildo? That's what a new Facebook group is inviting anyone outraged by Russia's anti-lgbt policies to do.
The group, insighfully christened "Send A Dildo To Vladimir Putin," has created a page that shares the president's address, 23, Ilyinka Street, Moscow, 103132, Russia, and suggests, "Help Impale The Vlad! Send your toys, new or used, to where they're needed the most!"
Evidently they were pondering an optimal vehicle to express the thought: "Go f*** yourself."
Lustralboy says: From small acorns.......Russian repression now faces an assault from the gathering force of the global gay community. We may be in for a long fight, but we'll win in the end.
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