Tuesday, January 13, 2015

ICYMI - Russian Edition

There's been so much going on around the world in the last week that an incredibly important story to come out of Russia was pushed to the back burner, but it needs to be discussed. 

Everyone knows that it's the law in Russia to be imprisoned for simply being who you were born as. Anti-LGBT sentiment is rampant. But now, Russia has gone another step further in denying rights to a section of its population. Prime Minister Medvedev signed a law this week that makes it illegal for transgender Russians to obtain drivers licenses. Transgender Russians are considered by the government to have "sex disorders" and therefore, as too "dangerous" to drive (That kind of law is a Republicans dream, isn't it?) The law is focused on reducing the amount of traffic accidents that occur daily on Russian roadways. Instead of tightening driving laws, the government decided to push blame onto the LGBT community. Doctors are begging the government to rethink the law, but unfortunately, it's looking like their medical expertise won't do much to change anything. Religious extremism (you know, the kind no one talks about because it isn't Islam) is the big booster of bills like this, and it has a pretty strong hold on the Kremlin and with its current government. Don't look to this to come to an end anytime soon.

How a group of people can hate others for being different defies logic, which is why I'm not a republican. I have friends who are from Russia and Ukraine, and they believe in the government fed propaganda about gay Russians no matter how much I tell them they're wrong. How do we turn that around? How do we change hearts and minds? If we're going to be outraged at religious extremists trying to limit our free speech, we also need to be outraged at them trying to limit the freedom to be who you are.

I feel this issue ties into what's currently going on in France, as the media and the whole world is on a freedom high. It feels incredibly disingenuous that we can come together in a united front against attacks on journalistic freedom, but haven't been loud enough in our dissent to Russia's hatred towards its LGBT community. Millions will voice their support for a racist, homophobic and sexist "satire" newspaper, but not a peep about this story. I'm looking forward to the unity marches in Red Square with Netanyahu and Hollande, but I won't hold my breath.


  1. Don't know if you caught the Frontline story about Putin\Russia yet. Very interesting to see how they really are not that different from the administrations of this century in some respects.

    1. I'll have to look for it online! I think the current GOP takes a lot of direction from hard line right-wing despots in other nations, especially Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev.