Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Too sexy for this march

Didn't we all want to see this ... so bad ... back in the early 90s?

Right Said Fred singer Richard Fairbrass was one the gay-rights marchers attacked in Moscow at the weekend (video is here) and bloodied up by Orthodox and nationalist counterprotesters ("so sexy, it huuuuurts" ... yeah, it really does now). Police reportedly arrested from 20 to 30 gay-rights marchers, and about 10 were hospitalized.

All jokes aside about getting bloodied for making crap records (you're next, Michael Bolton), my response initially was sympathetic toward the pro-gay marchers. But when you read the guts of the news stories, you find it is a bit more complicated.

First of all, the march itself was illegal. They applied for a permit to the mayor of Moscow and he turned them down on the grounds that the march was "satanic." Supposedly, this was a march for the right to march, which is silly legerdemain. The pro-gay marchers were breaking the law. Period. At the very least, the official acts of the arrests and breaking up the parade were entirely legitimate. And big boys know that some rough justice is likely in such cases.

Second, homosexuality is not illegal in Russia. The article I linked to says that "Russia decriminalised homosexuality in 1993 but tolerance is not widespread." Understand that we're not talking about a legally persecuted group, which changes everything in my view. As I implied above, you can break an unjust law for good and proportionate reasons, and legal persecution would be one of them. But that's not what the demonstrators wanted here -- they want an annual parade to celebrate sin and scandalize the nation -- which is not such a good reason. Pride parades are part of the landscape here already. That's regrettable, but it is a fact. But I don't blame the Russians one bit for not wanting their country to go down that road, turning it into a really big and cold San Francisco. (The large number of non-Russian celebrities among the marchers surely is relevant.) And acting to prevent it.

No comments: