Initially, I chose this illuminating text because I wanted to see how individual lives were affected by the rising homophobia in Russia, caused by the Gay Propaganda Law. Therefore, from this video I was expecting to view the daily struggles a gay person goes through in life. More specifically, I wanted to learn about personal testimonies.This video illuminated my topic by offering the perspectives the gays oppressed in Russia , as a result of the rising homophobia from the recent anti-gay propaganda. However, this video also offers the perspective of the anti-gay legislators who were responsible for this law.
The video asserted that gays are underprivileged and face more difficulties compared to straights. For instance, they have to be especially safe online; the reason for this is a group called “Ocuppy phedophilia”. Gurjyanov, an LGBT rights activist who teaches guys how to be safe online, explained that memebers of “Occupy Phedophilia”, a group that started by huting down phedophiles but have recently changed to hunt down gays, search the internet to locate men looking for other men. Those in this vigilante group pretend they are gay men as well. Once they locate these men, they meet up, and publicly shame them on camera. A humiliation tactic these groups use is ‘Urine Therapy’; this is where the groups pour urine on their victims head to “cure them of their homosexuality”. Because of this law, gays are considered “enemies of the state”.
In fact, Authorities refer to these crimes as “civil movements fighting the sins of society”. As a result, government officials refuse to ever prosecute these vigilante groups. Moreover, Once the video gets out, the victims face the possibilities of “getting expelled from their education” or “losing their jobs”; the reason for this is the homophobia, which has exponentially rissen as a result of this law. Thus, Gurjyanov aims to keeps gays safe on the internet so that situations like these don’t occur. On the other hand, the VICE reporters in the video tried to understand the perspective of the anti-gay legislators. VICE reporters interviewed Vitaly Milonov, a proponent of the gay propaganda legislation. Throughout the interview, he defended the gay-propaganda law. Primarily, he argued for the law by stating it is democratic since the majority of Russians are Orthodox Christians and that ” 85% of Russians support the law”.
When accused that the law is a violation of free speech, Milonov again justified the law by stating that it is harmful to “give kids incorrect information”; in this case, that would be telling kids that being gay is normal. Later they interviewed Alexey Mukhin, the Director General of the Center for Political Information; he has close ties to putin. Like Milonov, he defended the law. He does not believe the law is a big deal and still believes gays can live safely in Russia, as long as they are private. As long as you keep your relationship private “the vast majority of problems disappear”, he says. Moreover, he said “being gay in Russia is “like living a very big and very comfortable closet”Moreover, my illuminated text highlighted The Russian-Orthodox’s authority on the creation of the Gay-Propaganda Law. Ever since he was elected, Putin had close ties to the church. Therefore, the church likewise stated their support for putin.
As a side notes, it is necessary to understand that unlike the United States, the church can influence politics; there is little separation of church and state. Moreover, the interviews vice had with church clergy displayed that the church does not support homosexuality. For instance, Hieromonch, an Orthodox priest, asserted that “god created man and women to make a family. Everything else is unnatural”. Therefore, from influence of the church and a desire to maintain good relationship, Putin and the Duma, the state legislature, passed the gay propaganda law. In the end, this video deepened my thinking and understanding of the topic. For example, instead of only understanding subjects such as the specifics of the law or details of vigilante groups, I get to learn about how individuals are affected by this law and the risen homophobia as a result of that law.
From this video I learned that most gays have to be wary online due to groups like occupy phedophilia, risk being fired (due to wide-spread homophobia) if it is found they are gay, and can be arrested if they tell others that their sexuality is normal. Moreover, it altered my thinking. Previously, I believed to think democracy was the perfect type of government.
However, after discovering that 85% of Russians agree with the gay propaganda law, a law contrary to human rights and science, my thinking on this subject matter changed. How about a representative government where smart, educated, ethical professions vote on issues for the people? But what if they’re all prejudiced toward certain groups? What is the best type of government?