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How Do You Get to Carnegie Hall? :: Practice Homophobia

Thursday Oct 10, 2013

As the old joke goes "How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice!"

Practice homophobia -- according to LGBT activist group Queer Nation claims that plans to protest the Big Apple's famed concert hall tonight over the appearance of Russian conductor and ardent Putin supporter, Valery Gergiev.

via Queer Nation press release:

In the latest in a series of high-profile protests against the Russian government's anti-gay laws, Queer Nation will stage a demonstration at Carnegie Hall on October 10. The target of the protest is world-renowned conductor Valery Gergiev, an ardent supporter of Russian president Vladimir Putin. Gergiev will be at Carnegie Hall to conduct the performance by the Russian Mariinsky Orchestra. Queer Nation is demanding that Carnegie Hall oppose the Russian government's continuing attacks on LGBT Russians.

The protest will take place on Thursday, Oct. 10 at 6:30 p.m. in front of Carnegie Hall on West 57th Street.

The demonstration at Carnegie Hall follows a recent action by Queer Nation during the Metropolitan Opera's Opening Night Gala at Lincoln Center on Sept. 23, where Gergiev conducted Tchaikovsky's "Eugene Onegin." Protesters inside the Met delayed the start of the night's program, while protestors outside held signs and a giant rainbow flag banner to demand that the Russian government repeals their anti-gay laws. Gergiev led that performance as well.

Gergiev, the artistic and general director at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, is a longtime Putin friend. Gergiev has been honored by the Russian government and by the Russian Orthodox Church, both of which championed Russia's anti-gay laws. Gergiev campaigned for Putin in 2012. The Mariinsky Theatre has received hundreds of millions of rubles from the Russian government. In an Oct. 8 interview with RIA Novosti, Gergiev refused to discuss these laws.

"Gergiev's support for Putin is approval for the Russian government's ongoing bigotry against LGBT Russians," said Alan Klein, a member of Queer Nation, an LGBT rights group. "We protested loudly and clearly at the Met on September 23, but Gergiev's refusal to speak out against these anti-gay laws allows hatred and violence to continue against LGBT Russians."

On Oct. 4, Queer Nation wrote to Clive Gillinson, Carnegie Hall's executive and artistic director, asking that Carnegie Hall condemn the Russian government's attacks on LGBT Russians. As of today, Carnegie Hall has not responded.

In June, the Russian government enacted legislation that effectively bans any pro-LGBT statement in public or private and on the Internet. In July, a law took effect banning adoptions of Russian children by people from any jurisdiction that allows same sex marriage. Currently, the Russian parliament is considering legislation that would remove children from any Russian household that is headed by a gay or lesbian parent.


  • , 2013-10-10 13:52:12

    Queer Nation is merely seeking publicity for themselves. They have no evidence that Gergiev even supports Putin’s law. Instead, they hound the Carnegie and the Met and Gergiev and Netrebko and show the world what kind of bullies Queer folk can be. I’m a gay man and I don’t support bullying those not responsible for the laws. Protest Putin, spend energy against the actual perpetrator not the innocent artists and venues who are actually LGBT allies.

  • , 2013-10-11 00:34:55

    I completely agree, anonymous. I’ve been friends with people who have vastly different political or social views than myself, and I’m sure Putin as a man has some redeeming qualities if you know him. This doesn’t excuse the atrocious laws they’re putting into effect, but I think it at least means you can be friends with the man without supporting every aspect of his political career. Who know, he may be against the laws, but refuses to say anything BECAUSE he gets so much support from the Russian government and Orthodox Church. Violence against lgbt people and supporters in Russia is rising exponentially as well, so this man could be staying silent to avoid persecution, attack, or even the destruction of his career and reputation in Russia. By doing these protests, Queernation is showing that lgbt people can be just as close minded as anybody.

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