There are several videos and articles on people’s reactions to Russian Lawmakers passing an Anti-Gay Bill denouncing the Russian gay community and banning any distribution of information about homosexuality to children. Most of the gay community and many who support gay rights oppose this attack on homosexuals. In response they have been showing negative attention towards Russia and exercising their freedom as citizens. The protests and speak outs continue to go on and cause more chaos as Russian religious activists and officials assault and detain those who oppose this bill.
The owners of gay bars, Revolver and Mickey’s, held a protest against Russian Anti-Gay laws. They and several other supporters filled bottles of Russian Vodka, Stolichnaya, with water for a pouring out ceremony. Several other gay bars also stopped serving Russian liquors. This was done in retaliation of the Anti-Gay Bill in Russia and also from the LGBT community suffering from being beaten, jailed, and even killed for actions as little as holding a rainbow flag. This will cause Russia to have a bad reputation and change many homosexuals or homosexual friendly people to look at the nation in a different light. Soon other states that have large support systems for homosexuals will practice this protest. How long is Russia going to watch its products being wasted and banned? This potentially can lower the rate of tourism to Russia; reduce the amount of companies doing business with or in the country, and even a decrease in sales on other Russian products. Are Russian companies ready for this economic drop? Perhaps they ought to put aside their homophobia for the good of all their people and their public image.
Even celebrities are enraged and offended by Russia’s Anti-Gay laws. Lady Gaga and Madonna both have been videotaped speaking their minds in opposition to the Russian Anti-Gay Bill. This was done during performances probably to ensure that a greater range of the audience would get the message. This is becoming a PR nightmare for Russia. Being badmouthed on television and on the internet is not a good look. Many who frequently use social media see and hear these negative things about Russia and its discrimination against homosexuals and immediately start and or follow campaigns to stand against this homophobia in attempts to end it. Did Russian leaders consider the repercussions of such drastic rules and regulations? Will this uproar alter people’s viewpoints on Gay Rights?
On August 7, 2013 President Barack Obama spoke against the Russian Anti-Gay Law on the Jay Leno Show. Will Russian lawmakers allow this Anti-Gay attitude to negatively affect the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics?
Considering that people are protesting across the globe and opposing the bill’s passing, this raises questions about whether this was a smart decision. It might have been bad PR move and seems to be setting a negative view of Russia as a country. Many are not in favor of Vladimir Putin allowing this aggressive homophobic behavior and pessimism to go on. As the president of Russia, Putin needs to act on this issue. If he cares about his presidency and the future of his nation acting quickly to resolve the problem may bring on a better look for Russia. To stop, the defamation of Russia, politicians will have to stop the defamation of the Gay community. They must educate the public that Gay is not bad. Lightening up the restrictions and or changing the law so that it doesn’t only target LGBT citizens would be more rational.
Why risk losing more money and respect over someone’s sexuality? The negativity is discrediting and setting the perception of Russia back decades. It’s now time for some crisis management to come into play. However, the only way to cease this media mayhem and wider negative perceptions will be for the country and its leaders to authentically embrace and respect its people as a whole and put aside discriminatory behaviors.
By Jaquan Brinkley-Johnson
Mason Intern Summer 2013