Taking Children From Their Homes: Russia Introduces Bill To Remove Gay Parenting Rights

“Waves of protests surrounded Vladimir Putin’s return to power as Russia’s President in March 2012. Since then, parliament has passed so many new laws restricting civil liberties that some people now call it the ‘mad printer.'”

– Amnesty International Wire (Amnesty.org)

Russia’s Civil Liberties Record: Getting Worse and Worse In Word & Deed

“Everything you add to the truth subtracts from the truth.”

                                                                          – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

According to the Associated Press, Russian State Duma Deputy Zhuravlev (Putin’s United Russia Party/parliamentary caucus) is introducing a law making “nontraditional sexual orientation” viable grounds to remove child custody for LGBTQ parents.

In the draft bill for this proposed new law, Zhuravlev wrote:

“Following the letter of the law that forbids propaganda of non-traditional sex to minors we must restrict such propaganda not only in mass media but also the family… if one of the child’s parents indulges in sexual contact with persons of the same sex, the damage to the child’s psyche is immense as a mother or father serves as an example for their offspring.”

Additional grounds for denial or revocation of parental custody include alcoholism, drug abuse or any amount or type of drug use deemed inappropriate, which has nothing at all to do with gender, sexual orientation or law-abiding families established in-place, having committed none of these substance-related offenses.

Here we see yet another instance of punishing allies in addition to homosexual persons, as once passed, this bill would affect families and children who aren’t even LGBTQ-identified. Custodial rights could then be revoked if both or either parent were gay (out or not), so if two parents happen to have an understanding in their relationship, share post-divorce custody, etcetera, the parent who happens to be gay can be penalized, or a child can be taken away from one or both parents for any so-called ‘homosexual-affiliated’ reason(s).

As it is already illegal to mention homosexuality around children or to advise or counsel LGBTQ or questioning youth. This recent unfortunate move is thought to be the next step in Russia’s plans to eradicate gay tolerance, inclusiveness or protections altogether for LGBTQ persons, friends, allies or families.

At this point, though the bill is to be debated before it is formally passed, it seems such motions are little more than a formality. Russian lawmakers keep clinging to the through line that their anti-gay motions and laws are being instituted to protect the children, rather than being anti-gay.

Putin has already banned LGBTQ people residing in other countries from adopting Russian children, and as of this writing, the Russian government is also considering reinstating a gay blood donor ban.

Though boycotts and protests are occurring worldwide, even Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge is throwing his hands up in the air, saying Russia will not change their minds or policies in terms of its anti-gay legislation, and Rogge’s sharing little more on the matter.

Rogge told the press, “…one should not forget that we are staging the games in a sovereign state, and the IOC cannot be expected to have an influence on the sovereign affairs of a country.”

Activists, lawmakers, PR representatives, athletes, spokespeople and officials can make all the claims they want leading up to the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, but we won’t know who’ll be arrested or how LGBT people or allies will be treated (both on arrival, during the events and while attempting to leave Russia) until it’s too late.

Many LGBTQ folks (like Johnny Weir) are Russophiles and/or have Russian spouses or partners. Have you been to Russia? Did you love it? If so, how do you feel now that Russian policymakers are passing all of these awful anti-LGBT laws?


Secure and Confident

When we were children most of us had a relative sense of security and confidence due to the stable environment in which we were growing up.  Our parents seemed to take care and watch out for us, provide food and clothing and whatever else we may have needed.  Overall, change and the disruption change causes, was minimal, leaving us free to simply worry about those things that children generally concern themselves with.

As we began to grow up and move ahead with our lives, change and it’s disruptive nature began to have more influence over us.  Going to school and dealing with all the peer pressure and issues related to trying to fit in and meet new people creates havoc in a young person.  It can foster feelings of self-doubt and insecurity.  Children can be cruel because they do not understand how what they say and the actions they take can adversely impact another of their peers.  For many, the self-doubt and feelings of insecurity are often times carried through to adulthood.

Clearly I am speaking from my own personal experience, and it may not necessarily be someone else’s truth.  However, I believe there are moments in our lives that we can clearly pinpoint that have had impacts upon us in our later years; both good and bad.

It is sad to think that something someone said or did to us as a child can have such influence over us in our later years.  It is unfortunate since the resultant insecurity instilled in us as a child seems to magnify and become much more onerous as we begin to deal with the more serious issues facing us as adults.  We then begin to hearken back to simpler times prior to the moment where we were “damaged.”  Doing so creates a sense of comfort within and a longing for a more stable time in our lives.

What is more debilitating than the insecurity itself, is the reaction to situations we face that cause us to live in the past and not deal with issues in a clear-headed fashion.  There is a tendency to apply former secure and stable states to our current situations, which may not be the most effective way to deal with a particular issue.

We have to understand that change is a constant. It will cause us to veer off track sometimes and make us feel inadequate and fearful of change itself.  However, we need to refocus our thought patterns to not rely on past truths that may not apply to our lives any longer, and embrace change and deal with situations in current terms.  While we can take solace and comfort in secure and stable states of the past, it is important that we categorize them as nice memories instead of the basis for which we interact in our contemporary condition.

I encourage you to create new paradigms of thought that reject past secure and stable conditions as the premise by which we try to derive solutions to current issues.  Instead, keep in mind that there are new secure and stable environments that will emerge based on the creation of new thought patterns that do not relate to former insecurities and their influence over us.

Yes, doing this can be difficult, as I have fell victim to clinging to the past.  I find myself becoming melancholy and longing for times from my past that were much simpler and easier to deal with.

Alas, the conclusion is always the same.  I eventually lift myself out of that state of mind, refocus on the situation at hand and simply deal with things in current terms in the most confident fashion I can muster.  You can do the same!