Gays Targeted for Ongoing Rapes, Assaults in Russia
Sexual assault targeting gays (or individuals perceived as gay) continue in Russia, with police claiming ignorance even as graphic videos circulate online.
A Sept. 13 Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty article reported that, in the wake of reports that gays in Russia are suffering attacks at the hands of vigilantes (and, it is alleged, officials in the case of a Russian GLBT rights activist), a video of a young man being forced to "confess" to being gay before he’s raped by thugs with a bottle has popped up on sites around Russia.
Such videos and photos have become almost commonplace in Russia since lawmakers in that country passed a law that criminalize the "promotion" of homosexuality. The law is broad enough to encompass not only public statements by the press and businesses in support of GLBT equality, but gestures made by gay people themselves, such as couples holding hands in public.
Reports from Russia in recent months have detailed group attacks on gays and trans individuals, some taking place in front of police who did nothing to intervene. Meantime, other nations in the region have made moves to adopt similar anti-gay laws of their own.
Predictably, the situation for gays in Russia has only grown more difficult and dangerous with each passing month since the Duma approved the anti-gay law in June. In some respects, the worsening situation resembles a systematic, incremental attempt to strip gays of rights and even human dignity; one official, Mikhail Degtyaryov, recently pushed for gays in Russia to be rejected as blood donors, and touted the idea of government-sponsored programs to "cure" gays. ""Many want to return to a normal life, to become heterosexual like 95 to 99 percent of our citizens," Degtyaryov claimed.
The idea that homosexuality is optional, and that gays can "choose" heterosexuality, has been soundly rejected by the mental health establishment, and contradicts all scientific understanding of why some individuals are innately attracted others of the same gender. Nonetheless, it is a core tenet of anti-gay religious doctrine.
In another recent turn of events, reported last month that anti-gay fliers were posted at an apartment building in the Russian city Rostov-on-Don that warned residents of a homosexual in their midst. The flier came on the heels of a government advisory instructing Russian citizens to be watchful for any neighbors that might be engaging in "homosexual propaganda." The flier conjured notions of a lurking figure that was only waiting for an opportunity to sexually assault innocents.
"There is one step from being homosexual to starting homosexual propaganda and molesting decent people," the flier claimed, referencing the long-championed belief in anti-gay circles that homosexuals constitute a danger to heterosexuals, especially children, because they are inveterate sexual criminals.