As a global community, we are the furthest we have ever been in terms of acceptance of our lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans brothers and sisters.
Countries from around the world from Europe to South America have legalized same-sex marriage; the Pope proclaims that he is not one to judge homosexuals who are of good will; and Conservative ministers are blasting foreign lawmakers for persecuting and discriminating against sexual minorities.
However, in such progressive and accepting times there is still work to be done, now more than ever, so as not to slip backwards into a social era we have fought to leave in the past.
A nuclear power, a veto authority on the United Nations’ Security Council and an omnipotent force over hundreds of millions of people, Russia has committed one of the greatest legislative assaults on the LGBT community we have seen since the Second World War.
Vladimir Putin, the president and new-age Stalin of the Russian Federation, signed into law policies that persecute those displaying “homosexual propaganda,” or rather non-traditional sexuality.
Reports of incarceration, vicious assaults from police forces in the streets, as well as wilful blindness to vigilantes that aid the police forces in maintaining traditional Russian families by capturing and torturing overtly gay citizens and tourists have become daily occurrences. It must bring the president back to his years as a KGB operative under the Communist regime. Unfortunately for him, the world has left such tactics and attitudes in the past with the KGB where it belongs.
Canadians have long supported and accepted the integration of the LGBT community into our country’s society. Conservatives, Liberals and New Democrats have all supported our community and wasted little time to rebuke the Russian parliament for passing such laws. Foreign Affairs
Minister John Baird worked tirelessly behind the scenes in attempts to convince Russian lawmakers to think otherwise about passing such legislation, but when it did pass, the minister had strong words for President Putin.
“The mean-spirited and hateful law will affect Russians 365 days of the year. It is an incitement to intolerance which breeds hate. And intolerance and hate breed violence.”
Truer words were never said, and if there were more like Baird, the world would be much less poisoned by hatred. On behalf of our community, Minister Baird, thank you for your continued support and kindness.
With the Olympics swiftly approaching, the question is should we keep the games in Russia? And if so, do Canada and other countries boycott? If we don’t learn from our past mistakes, history will be doomed to repeat itself. In 1933 the games were held in Berlin, shortly after pre-emptive Nuremberg laws were in place, and the world stood idly by watching as the chancellor stood in praise and cheered for German athletes and wished all others well in the games, and only short years later the world gazed in horror at the monstrous atrocities that transpired from their complacency and inaction.
Are the anti-gay laws but another preamble of another systematic cleansing to maintain a traditional way of life? This time the world is watching is disgust and disappointment. And because of the Olympics, such terrible laws did not pass by unnoticed as they did so many years ago.
Here’s to remembering where we have come as a community, where we are as a community, and where we have yet to go for our Russian brothers and sisters.
President, St. John’s Pride Inc.