Prominent Russian LGBT activist Nikolai [Alexeyev] has long been the poster child for battling homophobic legislation in Russia. For years, he has personally spearheaded efforts to bring an official LGBT Pride festival to the streets of Moscow, taken his battle to the courts, and has been beaten, bruised, and thrown in jail because of it.
This week, he’s responding to calls for a boycott of Russian vodka, insisting there’s “no point” in boycotting beverages, calling it a “symbolic gesture doomed to failure,” according to Gay Star News.
“To be honest, I don’t see the point in boycotting the Russian vodka,” he said. “It will impact anyone except the companies involved a little bit. The effect will die out very fast, it will not last forever…The producers, even if they become bankrupt because of the boycott (which is unlikely) will not be able to influence Russian politics and President Putin as well as the decisions of the State Duma.”
In place of a boycott, Alekseev said “targeting homophobic lawmakers” is the best course of action. The smartest way to do this, in his opinion, is to pressure other governments to add the authors of Russia’s “gay propaganda” law to visa ban lists, which would effectively lock them inside the country.
“Pressure your governments to put the authors of those laws on the black lists for the entrance visas,” Alekseev added. ”They will suffer and others will think twice. Nothing else will work!”
Yesterday, Stoli CEO Val Mendeleev issued a letter stating the company “has always been, and continues to be, a fervent supporter and friend to the LGBT community.” Last night, Stoli’s Facebook page got a super-gay makeover with the revival of their #StoliPride campaign. Currently, company officials are responding to many disgruntled patrons in an open forum in the #StoliPride post’s comments section.
The boycott might not work out as well as we think, but it sure is making a lot of noise. Both things should proceed: the ban of visas and the vodka boycott. Why has to be one or the other?
NEW YORK (AP) Amid a surge of anti-gay violence and repression in several countries, the United Nations’ human rights office on Friday launched its first global outreach campaign to promote tolerance and greater equality for lesbians, gays, transgender people and bisexuals.
UK: Government To Grant Posthumous Pardon To Gay Codebreaker Alan Turing
Famed WWII codebreaker Alan Turing will be granted aposthumous pardon by the British government. Turing committed suicide after being convicted of gross indecency under Britain’s anti-homosexuality code.
The government signalled on Friday that it is prepared to support a backbench bill that would pardon Turing, who died from cyanide poisoning at the age of 41 in 1954 after he was subjected to “chemical castration”. Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, a government whip, told peers that the government would table the third reading of the Alan Turing (statutory pardon) bill at the end of October if no amendments are made. “If nobody tables an amendment to this bill, its supporters can be assured that it will have speedy passage to the House of Commons,” Ahmad said. The announcement marks a change of heart by the government, which declined last year to grant pardons to the 49,000 gay men, now dead, who were convicted under the 1885 Criminal Law Amendment Act. They include Oscar Wilde.
Turing is considered by many to be the father of computer science.
Britainon Wednesday legalized gay marriage after Queen Elizabeth II gave her royal stamp of approval, clearing the way for the first same-sex weddings next summer.
Lawmakers cheered as House of Commons Speaker John Bercow said royal assent had been given – one day after the bill to legalize same-sex marriagein England and Wales cleared Parliament.The law enables gay couples to get married in both civil and religious ceremonies in England and Wales, provided that the religious institution consents. The Church of England, the country’s official faith, is barred from performing such ceremonies.
The Queen’s approval was a formality and is the last step necessary for a bill to become law.It also will allow couples who had previously entered into civil partnerships – which were introduced in 2005 and carry similar rights and responsibilities to marriage – to convert their relationships to marriage.
The British government introduced the bill in January.Prime Minister David Cameron had backed it, but it divided his Conservative Party and touched off strident debates in the House of Commons and House of Lords.
Numerous attempts to derail the legislation failed as it wound its way through Parliament, with traditionalists arguing it would undermine the sanctity of marriage.On Tuesday, Conservative lawmaker Gerald Howarth accused the government of having “bulldozed” the legislation through Parliament, “offending large swatches” of his party.But in the same debate, shadow women and equalities minister Yvette Cooper said it was the “time to celebrate and not discriminate.”
Currently training for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, speed skating New Zealand native Blake Skjellerup took some time to chat with Vocativ about the new “"homosexual propaganda" laws in Russia. The laws, supported by President Vladimir Putin, are a “huge step backward” for the international LGBT movement, he says, and he plans on ignoring them through and through.
"I was in the closet for a long time and who I am now is who I really am and who I always will be and I’m not going to tone down or change who I am just because I go to a different country. If it gets in trouble, I guess so be it," he says in this must-see video, in which 28-year old Skjellerup also discusses how the pride events at Vancouver Olympics helped him come out.
Today is the first-ever National Gay Blood Drive, an activist-created initiative to highlight the even in 2013, gay men are not allowed to donate blood. The discriminatory anti-gay practice has been on the books in various forms since 1977, and codified around the HIV/AIDS crisis in 1983. “Blood banks have been instructed to ask male donors if they have ever had sex with a man,” CNN reports:
If the potential donor responds “yes,” he is instantly removed from the donor pool for life. The policy started in the 1980s when people didn’t know how the deadly virus that causes AIDS spread.At the time, there wasn’t a good test to detect whether HIV was present in donated blood, and HIV was getting into the nation’s blood supply. Scientists also knew that a disproportionate number of gay men were affected by the virus.
Ryan James Yezak, lead organizer of the blood drive, is making a documentary about discrimination based on sexual orientation. He said he wants to convey on a national level how much blood the gay community could potentially contribute to the blood supply if given a chance to donate. “This ban is medically unwarranted, and this drive is the only way we can motion for change,” he said. “The gay community shouldn’t be written off as diseased.”
Blood donations were down by 10% across the country in June, according to the American Red Cross, which received about 50,000 fewer donations than expected.
Yezak produced this video that explains today’s action:
“A peaceful nation-wide demonstration in which otherwise eligible gay/bisexual male donors will show up to get tested at a specified donation center in their city and attempt to donate their blood,” the Gay Blood Drive website notes. ”As each donor is rejected, their test result will be collected, compiled, and delivered to the FDA – visually conveying to them on a national level how much blood the gay community could contribute to the blood supply should they lift their current policy.”