“Moscow Is Not Sodom:” Valeriya, Russia’s Madonna, Worries About Gay Propaganda

| “ RT @BBCNewsnight: Russian Singer Valeriya Perfilova says she worries about..influence of ‘gay propaganda’ on her children #newsnight ” |

Don’t Tell Me.” I Won’t Ask You.

Gay? Out? Don’t tell Valeriya about it. The living, thriving spirit of Pussy Riot continues to push the dialogue forward and keep LGBTQIA rights, allies’ rights and progressive activism in the planet’s consciousness.

In what’s being called a new gay holocaust, Russia’s resurgence of anti-gay sentiment (including myriad anti-gay/anti-ally/anti-activism laws) continues to change hands and to be bandied about by various talking heads. The revolving door of anti-gay rhetoric moves from the streets to the legislature to celebrity mouthpieces and back again.

One of the more prominent voices fearful of “gay propaganda” is Valeriya Perfilova, considered by many to be Russia’s version of Madonna. The singer directly benefits from (but does not publicly acknowledge) the love of her LGBTQ fans.

 

Using the Word “Propaganda” As Propaganda

Having sold over 100 million records worldwide, Perfilova is mainly known by her one-name moniker (see: Cher, Madonna) Valeriya. In her press materials, she appropriates much of Madonna’s heat, style and vibe—but somehow, she manages to kick the gay-friendly part of Madonnaisms to the curb. This is particularly unfortunate, as the singer’s a domestic abuse survivor and her body of work does much to buoy the spirits of female abuse survivors (all the while redirecting abusive behaviors toward another culture).

In a June 2013 broadcast with BBC Newsnight’s Jeremy Paxman and Russian gay activist Anton Krasovsky, Valeriya championed a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell-esque” viewpoint, towing the party line that LGBTQ persons should not be seen or heard as such.

Regarding Russia’s anti-gay legislation, Valeriya began:

“It was funny to me, because it’s nothing to do with politics. Being the mother of three children, I approve this [anti-gay] bill… I don’t want to meddle with other people’s lives. I don’t care what they do behind their doors. But I do care about my children’s bringing up [i.e. upbringing]…. The vast majority of people in Russia, 88 percent of people, support the ban of homosexuality propaganda. That’s a fact. And this bill responds to people’s demand. That’s all.”

 

L.W.Q: Living While Queer & Beingness As Illegal

Here’s a bit of a backgrounder: in January of this year, former Russian TV journalist and presenter Anton Krasovsky came out on Russian television and was fired immediately thereafter.

Now, back to Newsnight—during the BBC television broadcast, Krasovsky brought forth the idea—and his lived experience—that essentially now in Russia, it’s illegal to be gay.

Holding back uncomfortable laughter, Krasovsky couldn’t hold back the irony of the situation:

“I’m glad that that situation is funny for Valeriya,” he responded. “But it’s not fun for me. I think it’s against me. Against my family. Against all gay people in Russia…. From today, I cannot say that I’m gay and I’m the same human being…like all of you. From today, I’ll have to pay for this. From a hundred to two-thousand pounds. Because these words could be taken as propaganda.”

The beingness of gay life, being LGBTQ, being a questioning soul, being LGBTQ and out, or even advocating for those who are—in Krasovsky’s experience and in his own words, now this is a crime in and of itself, no matter what one does or does not do. It’s about the beingness now. Beyond being a thought-crime, this is L.W.Q. “living while queer.”

Illegal.

 

Some of My Best Friends Are Gay…

Ironies continue to prevail. In 2008, Valeriya became a goodwill envoy for the Russian Federation on behalf of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), an agency to combat human trafficking. She’s been bequeathed with honors and endorsement deals from Avon, from a custom perfumier, from MuzTV and MTV Russia. She was awarded the title of “Honoured Artiste of Russia” by Putin, and has been cited by Forbes magazine as one of the 50 most highly-paid people in movie, sport, literature and music.

All this to say her platform and audience is immense, and the Russian government is using her star power to their full advantage.

During Newsnight Valeriya continued, “I have a lot of friends who belong to gay society, and they do not support their unisexual marriages. They would never take part in gay parades. They’re just normal people. They do their business…. are still working on TV, the media. I don’t know why it happened to you [Anton].”

But of course, the “friends” are not out—or as Anton Krasovsky put it, they are not “open gays.”

To watch the full video, visit the YouTube link below.

BBC News – What gay ‘propaganda’ vote tells us about Russia Today:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-KfROu8AaU

Connect with Anton Krasovsky at @krasovkin and share your thoughts with BBC Newsnight @BBCNewsnight.

 

Success Fit For a Queen: Queen Latifah’s New Talk Show & LGBT-Ally Strides

RT ‏@FlavorUnitEnt | Are you ready?? “@IAMQUEENLATIFAH-“I really think there’s space in daytime TV for a whole bunch of fun, some amazing music, and some heart.”

– A recent tweet from Queen Latifah’s promotions crew

When Queen Latifah walks, she’s always walking on the red carpet. Cheerful, elegant and reflective, she can also turn on a Hip Hop Head “mean mug” glance in a heartbeat. She’s a strong, gorgeous, proud—and many say Same Gender Loving—woman of color making great moves in this world.

Queen Latifah’s been spotted out and about over time with  rumored girlfriends (http://www.eurweb.com/2012/05/queen-latifah-lesbian-girlfriend-photo-galler), is often noticed partying in lesbian clubs, and made her first high-profile public appearance at last year’s  Long Beach Pride (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/04/queen-latifah-did-not-come-out-pride_n_1529566.html).

She’s making the press rounds to share fantastic professional news: “The Queen’s” new daytime TV talk show will begin airing on Sept. 16 and is co-produced by Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, who recently made headlines yet again for their frankness regarding open relationships.

In this world, when you’re an entertainer, news bytes such as these make front page news hand-in-hand. Still, unlike Will and Jada, Queen Latifah isn’t fazed: she’s keeping her personal life out of the spotlight, no matter what we think we know about it.

During a recent press junket, Latifah told THR, “I don’t feel the need to discuss my private life on this show or on any show. There’s the part of my life that the public and I share together. And there’s the part that’s mine to keep for myself. And that’s mine. For me.”

Encouraging self-love, self-acceptance, optimal nutrition (with her Jenny Craig low-pressure “Ideal Size” campaigns), and self-care with a stylish flair, Latifah’s less of a guru and more of a “Can-Do.” (“She did it, I can too.”

One thing’s for sure: her private life is private, and to know there’s an ally in our midst who got her start in Hip Hop (whatever her sexual orientation and preference) and builds a bridge across many cultures in such a way is definitely a good thing.

Find out more about Queen Latifah’s new show how at http://queenlatifah.com, and click here to watch her chat with THR at YouTube. ()

All hail the Queen! Send your congrats and big-ups to Queen Latifah @IAMQUEENLATIFAH.