Tilda Swinton: To Call Putin Russia’s ‘Gayest President Ever’ is Offensive to the Gay Community


Tilda Swinton, who showed solidarity with the gay community last July by standing in Red Square with a rainbow flag, is asked about that moment in a SXSW interview with The Daily Beast.

Says Swinton:

"Well, Russia has the gayest president ever. No, that’s an offensive thing to say—not to him, but to the gay community."

Swinton has some additional insights about gay people:

"Well, I think there’s something that gay people have. It is true that to pass through the transitions that gay people have to in order to come out to themselves, to their families when they’re quite young, it’s a grow-bag, isn’t it? And I think that very often, heterosexual people miss out on that. There’s a feeling of development and sometimes, heterosexual people have never had to go through that self-examination and just knowing themselves, and that sense of coming out, coming to your own defense, and being your own best advocate, and going, “No! I’m going to stand by myself and say this is who I am and you can all fuck off.” That is a wonderful transition to go through, and I suppose a lot of straight people miss out on that, and then maybe their relationship choices are potentially less examined. They could be lazier or less thoroughly thought-through."


  1. MaryM says

    INteresting insight, although it avoids another factor worth examining – how gay people are less likely to go through the teenage learning curve on how to navigate love and relationships (unless they are out as teenagers in a safe and supportive environment) that straight kids have easier access to.

  2. Hell There says

    I agree with her. Although the history behind the tendency is considerable, we’ve become a little to easy-breezy with calling every raging homophobe “secretly gay.” This denies the fact that indeed, some people are just plain haters, not necessarily repressed self-loathers, and as Ms. Swinton says, it insults the very people it’s meant to avenge.

  3. ajax28 says

    That is an absolutely wonderful observation that she makes. I came out late in life, but it was one of the most wonderful and transformative experiences in my life, for all the reasons that she eloquently described.

  4. ajax28 says

    By the way, Hell There, I couldn’t agree with you more. I find it tiresome when so many people chime in after a piece about a homophobic statement, “He’s gay! He’s in the closet!” I think there are more haters out there than there are self-hating closeted gay men. Plus, I don’t want to claim those guys as being our own!

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