Oh what to do, what to say about this? Something, for sure. I couldn’t just not talk about it, even though it’s one of those things, not so different from climate change in that regard, where the individual feels that there’s probably little they can do on their own to mitigate or stop this horror.
I mean, I can’t just pop over to Moscow or St. Petersburg and grab a bunch of LGBTs and bring them home with me.
Yet this reminds me so much of what I’ve read about what happened in Germany in the 1930s with the Jews (and later gays, and gypsies, and . . .) — first laws restricting, ever increasing in scope, until they were legally marginalized as a group and then of course we know what happened after that. Russia is going through the same initial motions with the LGBT community there, outlawing any positive speech about LGBT under the guise of protecting children. (see this link for specific information about the laws in Russia)
What is clear to me is that we cannot stand by and not say or do anything. If not us, who? If not now, when?
There’s lots of things/ways to protest, on the table, that people and organizations and governments are doing. Let’s look at them, let’s see what makes sense for us in both groups and as individuals.
- Boycott Vodka — a lot of bars and towns are boycotting vodka purchases and drawing attention to this by doing “public pours” down storm drains, etc. My take: great as an attention-draw-er, as publicity stunt without much practical impact — as I understand the vodka industry is not Russia-based. Still, it’s a cultural touchstone and this is a way to draw attention to the matter.
- Boycott Olympics in Sochi – the Winter Olympics in February, 2014, will be held in Sochi, a city on the Black Sea in southern Russia. The various proposals are to boycott nationally – as in, not send a team (which won’t happen, at least from the U.S.) or to pressure the IOC to move the Olympics to a city where they’d recently been held, such as Vancouver. I honestly don’t know how effective this would be. It’s probably too late to make it happen now regardless. What lasting effects did the western boycott of the Moscow 1980 Olympics and their corresponding get-you-back boycott of the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984 have? I’m not sure either was a factor in the collapse of the Soviet Union, which was a massive economic meltdown five years later. Russian LGBT have purportedly said this is NOT a good idea, they would like the world to come to Sochi to keep the spotlight on the human rights abuses of the home country.