Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Putin vs the gays.

Yesterday evening I went to Amsterdam to join the protest against the law the Russians have proposed on LGBT propaganda. Personally I think the whole idea is idiotic as your sexual orientation and gender identity are locked into the brain. You can torture someone as much as you like but they will remain gay. If being LGBT was a choice hardly anyone would do it because of all the trouble you can get into. It makes life a lot harder and no one wants that. Personally, if I had a choice, I would just ´fit in´. I tried long enough to be a girl after all. And that´s what we all want in the end. To fit in and to belong. But it´s not a choice. So pretending it´s not there is not an option. Therefor the idea of gay propaganda is just silly. Propaganda suggests it is a choice. Propaganda suggests you can persuade people to become gay. Come join us, we have rainbows! I mean, really? Does he actually think it works that way? Does anyone? I know people do believe such things but come on. Why on earth would someone chose to be gay if it means you can get lynched. Or, closer to home for most of us, get hired, bullied and beaten up like that gay couple in Paris the other day. Why would anyone chose to live like that? We don't. We don't have a choice. It's who we are. 

Putin denies human rights are being infringed. He says that the LGBT community has the same rights as anyone else. He also says it's a local law that is suggested to ban gay propaganda, not federal. But federal law should make such local laws impossible. If it really is local, he should pull rank and tell them it's a no go. In the mean time the law has already been activated in several areas of the country. Violence is growing. People don't feel safe, they are scared. And they should be. The police does not protect them. Putin may say the police should, but they don't. A survey in Russia shows that "Tolerance towards people with different sexual orientation and an understanding of their problems was found in 23% of Russian people, who suggest that these people should be left in peace to be themselves; another 27% believe that such people need psychological help. The rest of society has firm opinions on the issue: 16% believe that homosexuals should be isolated from society, 22% think they should be forced to undergo treatment, and 5% think they should be "eliminated" completely..." Less then 1 in 4 is 'okay' with gay people. So Putin may say that LGBT people have the same rights, but with the homophobia going through the roof, it's a bit difficult to believe people can actually exercise those rights. Banning education on LGBT is not going to make people less gay. It's just going to make them more homophobic. 

So, the protest. What was is like. Well, there were a few thousand gay people on a tiny spot so that meant song festival music and whistles. Lots of rainbow flags and signs being waved around. Sing a longs and shouting. Being there felt important. But it also felt kind of futile. I don't know if it will help at all but it was all we could do so that's what we did. It was nice seeing a lot of people there, running into old and new friends. It was really nice to know they care. A friend of mine who is straight came along as well. She turned out to be the only straight person I know who bothered. I really really appreciate her being there. The thing is, this isn't just a gay issue. It's a human rights issue. It's about being able to be yourself and to love who you chose to love without being prosecuted for it. People seem to forget that. It's not just about the gays. It's about all of us. It's about freedom in the smallest things, the things we seem to take for granted. It's about such basic things as being able to give someone a hug in public. It's about not having to be ashamed of who you are. Or having to be afraid to be yourself. It's about being human. 

If you still want to do something, the petition is still open. Please sign. 


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