I just finished reading this lengthy piece in the current aedition of GQ, “Inside the Iron Closet” about the culture and strange legality of homophobia in Russia right now. From Pussy Riot to random people on the street, there seems to be a massive crackdown on all kinds of self-expression in that country, especially the freedom to be queer or gay in public (or private) life.
Unless the journalist, Jeff Sharlet, is greatly overstating or exaggerating the article for the benefits of circulation, this really really worries me. We often think of conservative places or situations that have not yet become progressive in terms of the full recognition and availability of civil and human rights, but it is immensely disturbing to think of places where human rights are taking massive steps backwards. And to be the case in Russia.
The article compares Russia under Putin to Germany in the 1930s, and talks about nothing less than the “the unraveling of civil society in one of the most powerful countries on the globe.” While perhaps this is a journalistic flourish intended to increase readership, this seems like an issue that every good-hearted person should be intensely aware of. What’s happening to the gay community in Russia is scary.
In other, better news, a dear friend and comrade on the path of awakening just asked me to officiate their same-sex wedding this summer. It is the second time I will be blessed to help officiate a same-sex marriage. God Bless America. 🙂
May all beings everywhere feel completely free to be who they truly are.
(Above is the best New Yorker cover of all time, when the Supreme Court upheld marriage equality in the United States)