Logo TV, ever vigilant to entertain, document and inform us about all things LGBTQ-related, held its very own live-streamed town hall on September 10 to address Russian’s recent anti-gay legislation and increasingly hostile environment.
Sponsored by NewNowNext in partnership with AllOut.org, the town hall lasted just over an hour and continued to personalize how the gay “propaganda” law affects LGBTQ persons of experience and allies, and how Russia’s machinations may impact the 2014 Olympics in Sochi for all attending and participating.
The town hall was moderated by out sportscaster Jared Max (who declared his origin is Russian). Guests included out gay Olympic diver and advocate Greg Louganis, RUSA LGBT’s Nina Long, out Russian journalist and asylum-seeker Roman Mamonov, All Out Executive Director/Co-Founder Andre Banks, and Deputy Director of the Kennan Institute/Russian Law Expert Dr. William Pomeranz and others.
Topics covered included: how Russia’s LGBT-friendliness was experienced from the 1990s to present day, living in small towns versus metropolitan areas in Russia, what LGBTQ Russians want and need, the implications of Russian LGBTQ activists of allies using social media, perfect-world/possible solutions or workarounds for Putin, boycott efficacy and much more.
Read just a few of the many poignant points from the town hall below:
“I oppose [the boycott of the Sochi games]…we have to use this opportunity to promote ideas about LGBT rights, equality…. It sounds even crazier, but the simple thing that American, European…or just regular athletes have to do…to show the regular Russian public that we do not have horns, tails…we are regular people with our boyfriends, girlfriends, Black, White, Latino and so on. We are regular people. Same as you. That’s our title. Same as you, that’s all.” -Roman Mamonov
“This law is not clear. None of us actually know what ‘propaganda’ means. How this law will be used seems incredibly broad.” – Andre Banks
“The State Department will simply inform people about the actual law. I don’t think there’ll be a track record…as to how this law is being enforced…you will either be willing to rely on the assurances of the Russian government that nothing’s going to happen to you, or you will have to take some serious consideration as to…what type of response might provoke the Russian authorities…. They’ve obviously created a PR disaster…it’s most likely that the sponsors…will also feel significant pressure leading up to the games…. Unless there are further examples…it’s going to be up in the air…. There will be some element of protest, whether it comes from people attending…the athletes themselves, there will be some sort of action.”-Dr. William Pomeranz
“This law is not particularly about children. Under this law, speaking for equal rights is a crime in itself, no matter what your audience is.” – Nina Long
Meanwhile, more and more Russian activists—while their mics are still on, live and accessible—continue to provide us with ways we can show solidarity and support.
Aside from LGBT Russians’ asylum en masse, GLAAD provided more suggestions compiled from Q and A’s with Russian LGBT activists. Please click here to read it. (http://www.glaad.org/blog/russian-lgbt-advocates-explain-what-we-can-do-help)
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