Vladimir Putin has declared the fight against LGBTQ, but he has more plans. Because there is one thing that the rulers of Russia cannot bear. Says Vladimir Kaminer.
Archaic and modern are fighting each other all over the world. The fronts run through almost every kitchen, there are minefields everywhere you look. The gender front is particularly hotly contested. Recently, parliament in the African state of Uganda passed anti-LGBTQ legislation that requires lengthy prison terms for these people. And even worse, even the death penalty is provided as an option for “serious offenses” in the field of homosexuality.
This new law criminalizes those affected for their mere existence, and it also obliges all citizens of the country to denounce queer people, especially if they are family members, friends or work colleagues. Uganda’s Parliament voted almost unanimously in favor of the new law, with 387 MPs in favor of 389 MPs.
Vladimir Kaminer is a writer and columnist. He was born in Moscow in 1967 and has lived in Germany for more than 30 years. His most famous works include “Russian disco“. His new book was recently released “How do I tell my mother. The new world explained: from gender asterisks to organic seals“.
According to surveys by opinion research institutes, the proportion of non-heterosexual people in all countries around the world should be about the same – it is about seven percent of the population. If these statistics are to be believed, 27 Ugandan MPs have approved their own death sentences.
For its part, the Russian Federation is trying to follow Uganda, the president is similarly homophobic and the parliament is joining in, although the speaker of the parliament and a number of MPs are taking a great private risk of falling under the wheels of homophobic justice themselves. But your fear of the President seems to be greater.
Danger from the children’s theater?
Up until now, the main thing in Russia has been censorship of the public. So-called propaganda for “non-traditional” relationships is strictly forbidden. Even the mention of such is punishable. All publishers have been instructed to scrutinize the books they have published or are planning to publish in this regard.
All films and plays are also affected. Of course, concerned parents first denounced the children’s theaters – because it seems to be the rule there that male actors dress up as women or even as bunnies or squirrels and perform “non-traditional” mating dances. The fear is that something like this could give the little ones the wrong image of masculinity and femininity.
The advertising industry, on the other hand, has gotten into a crisis as a result of the law, and “non-traditional” forms of relationships are constantly being demonstrated in advertising. Alongside officially accepted behaviors — like the love between a man and his car, or a woman’s relationship with her washing powder — the ads are full of it.
In the plot of the commercials, people feel a strong emotional need for toothpaste and cosmetics, they are extremely excited by potato chips or people who eat them. However, a new law states in black and white that any positive portrayal of “non-traditional” relationships is punishable. The law, which is intended to prevent “propaganda for non-traditional sexual relationships”, is of course formulated so openly that anyone can be accused of violating it.
What does the Kremlin want?
Malicious tongues claim that this law is not due to the homophobia of the political leadership, but to the general desire to keep society under control. It’s not primarily about sex. In fact, in the big Russian cities, unlike in Uganda, the gay clubs are full every weekend – and almost every sauna in the huge country has a special “men’s day” in its program.
Possibly the deeper reason for the new legislation is the desire of the leadership to create an enemy image of those who think differently that is accepted by society. The media loyal to the Kremlin constantly claim that the country has been attacked by the West and that the “devious” Europeans are spreading values that are “not traditional” in Russian society, i.e. liberal.
What exactly these values are and what is so bad about these values that the whole country has to isolate itself from the outside world and change its legislation for protection is not explained. Is it about democracy, the change in political personnel, the right to freedom of expression and tolerance?
These are values that allow an individual to shape his life according to his own plans, not prescribed by the totalitarian state. The state is not afraid of homosexuals per se, but of free citizens – the new law is intended to deprive them of the right to think and act freely.