Sofia Vishnevskaya is a Russian Lawyer and Linguist. She lives in Moscow and attends the Moscow State Linguistic University.
From the very beginning I want to clarify that there is not any law in Russia, which prohibits people from being gay or lesbian. The full name of the sensational “anti-gay law” is “The prohibition of propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations to minors” (including pedophilia), which of course sounds disrespectful for gay couples all over the world. Moreover, the essence of the law is rather vague and it does not contain certain definitions. It only says that for such propaganda (neutral distribution of information of that kind is not an administrative offense) guilty people must be fined.
However, everything is not as terrible as it is shown by the international mass media. Each country, sooner or later is faced with confronting issues concerning the rights of sexual minorities. As with many issues, they must be solved by taking into account the national mentality of the country. In this case Russia is not an exception.
With the emergence of statehood in Russia, the Orthodox Church and the institution of family played a fundamental role in the formation of general politics. To the present moment this situation has not changed much. These deeply conservative moral values still sit firmly in people’s minds (especially in the minds of people over 50) and unfortunately cannot be fixed in a flash. As with other countries that have “almost succeeded” in solving this, Russia needs time for reaching an understanding with people of untraditional sexual orientation.
I want to highlight that nobody here in Russia is aimed to kill gays or make their lives a living hell. Nevertheless, most of the people are not ready for the radical changes that took place in Europe or the USA because of the reasons mentioned above. The ruling party passes such bills but doesn’t take into account that Russians by nature are simply not interested in the personal lives of strangers at all. The Russian government makes with their own hands the advertisement for gays such as what happened with the Pussy Riot affair. For simple people it seems that the government simply doesn’t know what to do. That’s why the ru-net or “Russian Internet” is full of sarcastic jokes towards our politics.
It is no wonder that foreign journalists are also bothered by this problem and always ready to exaggerate the real attitude of Russians towards gays, calling it completely homophobic and/or cruel.
Young generations, especially in Central Russia, are more tolerant to people of nontraditional sexual orientation. They are even ready to speak up or at least support gays and lesbians in the moral debate. I, personally, (and most of my friends) don’t see any reason to blame individuals for their choices of whom they love.
The hatred between the Russian government and the foreign media only worsen the situation by aggravating and spoiling relations between nations. Russia, as the rest of the world doesn’t need a popularization of gays, it also believes in everyone’s equity. I want to mention again that Russian people simply need time to accept each other with all their differences. Nobody here in their right mind wants to hurt or kill one another based on their own personal choices.
In the end, I just want to wish to gay people of Russia patience, strength and bravery.
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