Right now the world is on the edge of a big change – gay rights are slowly being recognised and globally the debate is being raised; for the most part we know that equality should be shared by all people – regardless of their age, sex, race, or sexuality. But, it seems that, in the past weeks, months, years even, certain sections of the modern, global community have been opposed to this idea.

We here in Britain know as well as anybody that the Olympics can be a nation changing spectacle – 2012 was a success in that respect. Sebastian Coe’s constant aspiration to ‘inspire a generation’ may perhaps have been a little excessive in its estimations, but I would guess that in the last two years, young Britons from the South of England to the North of Scotland will have taken up sports that, prior to 2012, they would not have considered. On top of that, for me at least, the crowning achievement of the London 2012 games was bringing the world together in a celebration of unity through sport and competition. Isn’t that what the Olympics are about?

 The history of the modern Olympic games is not a clean sheet – it has, indeed, seen its fair share of controversy and tragedy. So although what we are seeing in Russia is no new thing, it is perhaps made all the more incendiary by the relevance of gay rights and issues in modern western society and media. Personally, it is beyond me that there is any issue here at all; it seems to me the height of clarity and logic that we are all the same. But obviously that is not a ubiquitous perspective.

…the crowning achievement of the London 2012 games was brining the world together…

 As I’ve already mentioned, the issue of gay rights has been, in the last few years or so, hotly contested – debates on the basis of religion, morality and social acceptability have occupied the majority of public attention – so are these same issues  the cause of the current situation in Russia?

 Most observers agree that Putin’s recent anti-homosexual propaganda has been a part of a bid to appeal to the sentimentalities of conservative voters, the recent release of dissidents like the band Pussy Riot in combination with the propaganda is seen to be an attempt to show a softer side to Russian politics whilst also maintaining some fundamental moral code that Putin’s government see as inherent to their country. So where should we stand in terms of this debate? I had come into this article meaning to write an unbiased and undecided piece that observes rather than comments – but frankly having seen some of the images, I just cannot do that. What is happening in Russia in line with Putin’s broken idea of humanity is as disgusting as the hundreds of examples of blatant inequality that have been displayed in the last centuries of this world.

…debates on the basis of religion, morality and social acceptability…

 By displaying Feudal sentimentality, by acting just as his dictator predecessors, by treading on the rights of human beings, by syndicating irrational fear and hate to gain approval from a demographic, by disembowelling feelings that transcend nature or rationale, Vladimir Putin has proved that his government is one to be feared – archaic in their fundamental creation and inspired only by the profit and power that they might gain, his is a party and global superpower that we, the people, need to stand up against.

 Fifty years ago your racism might have been accepted, your religious disapproval, your ignoring of global humanity, but today we can, and should not suffer at the hands of bigots with ill-gotten and undeserved power. A president should lead by example; by the very nature of his position a president should represent every facet of his nation’s population to the best of his ability. Homosexuality was decriminalised in 1993, these new laws however restrict what can be said to children about homosexuality and have, in effect, made illegal any public acts of homosexual behaviour. These new laws then have, effectually, re-criminalised homosexuality.

…these new laws then, have effectively, re-criminalised homosexuality…

 Since the imposing of the new laws the set fine rate for public acts of homosexuality or ‘LGBT Propaganda’ has been between 4 and 5,000 rubles for individuals (between £70 and £100) and up to 1 million rubles for companies or organisations (a maximum fine of between £22,000 and £25,000). Foreigners facilitating and demonstrating the propaganda can also face up to fifteen days in prison followed by deportation, and since the implementation of the laws there has been an increase in homophobic assault and abuse on all levels, and beyond these basic facts there have been a surge in meditated homophobia, assault as a result of baiting and capturing and a general lack of reaction from Russian forces and the state in general.

 You do not need to be gay to stand against what is happening, you just need to Google it and see some of the images that have been released. I said that I entered this article with the intention of being unbiased, but it was these images that changed my mind. Nazi Germany propagated anti-Semitism, anti-homosexual feeling and racism; Communist Russia propagated anti-Semitism, anti-homosexual feeling and racism – modern Russia propagates at least one of these three still.

…an increase in homophobic assault and abuse on all levels…

 Human rights are not constrictive, they are inclusive – human rights do not exclude minorities – human rights do not stand against any person for any reason. We all have the right to live, to live and to be happy. Russia came into these Olympics with the intention of reminding the world that it is powerful – $50 billion were spent on these games so that we all knew that Russia was a global force to be reckoned with.

To my mind there is no way to be in favour of this tyranny. I hope with all my heart that in Russia, in the next weeks, gay athletes compete and win. Anti-homosexual propaganda is a tool of the past, a tool of hate that has no place in the modern world and no place in the future. Putin and his government are cavemen standing against an evolving global community – the only silver lining in the entirety of this sorry affair is that countries and corporations the world over have stood up against this tirade of hate and have shown that, despite what some minorities think, homosexuality is not a crime, sin or unnatural act. If this Russia is in any way a representative of the future of Russian internal policy then we, as free and fair minded people, should want no part in it…

About The Author

A 21 year old English and Creative Writing student at Brunel Uni in Uxbridge. I write about a whole range of subjects and have a keen interest in journalism and writing in general. @BrynWGlover

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