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Dan Savage: Why I'm Boycotting Russian Vodka

1374691438-dumprussianvodka_square_logo-1In an article posted to the Slog blog, Dan Savage addressed the recent spate of human rights abuses against LGBT individuals in Russia, arguing these offenses have become so egregious as to warrant action by members and allies of the LGBT community. Savage echoed the calls of others such as Harvey Fierstein who in a recent op-ed implored, "Can we allow this war against human rights to go unanswered?" The answer, according to Savage, is an emphatic and resounding, "no." However, assuming something should be done, what's the best course of action? There has been some debate as to how supporters of LGBT rights should go about responding to the violence and hate in Russia. Ruminating on a potential boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympics being held in Sochi, Russia, Savage points to Patrick Burke, co-founder of the You Can Play Project, and his rejoinder to the question of an Olympic boycott:

"In 1968, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar refused to play in the Olympics as a protest against the treatment of blacks in America. The same year, Tommie Smith and John Carlos stood on a medal stand, gloved fists in the air, as a protest against the treatment of blacks in America. History remembers the athletes who showed up.... To send the strongest possible message of support to the LGBT community, we must send our athletes—those who are LGBT, those who are LGBT-supportive, those with LGBT family members or friends. Let them show that champions stand strong with their teammates and training partners. Send our openly LGBT and “publicly pro-gay” athletes and let them compete. Let them win. Show the world that there are elite LGBT athletes who are not afraid to be themselves, on and off the playing field. That the majority of the world’s finest athletes support their LGBT teammates, coaches, and opponents by treating them as equals in competition."

However, irrespective of the Olympics, Savage suggests a boycott of Russian vodka is a more effective and immediate way to stand up to Russia's thugish anti-gay actions, giving momentum to previous calls for a boycott. Savage writes,

Savage"There is something we can do right here, right now, in Seattle and other US cities to show our solidarity with Russian queers and their allies and to help to draw international attention to the persecution of gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, trans people, and straight allies in Putin's increasingly fascistic Russia: DUMP RUSSIAN VODKA.

Here is a list of Russian vodkas currently available in the US: Dovgan, Gold Symphony, Standart, Hrenovuha, Kauffman , Kubanskaya, Moskovskaya, Narodnaya, Pyatizvyozdnaya, Putinka, Rodnik, Ruskova, Russian Standard, Shustov, Starka, Stolnaya, Youri Dolgoruki. The two best known Russian vodkas? Russian Standard and Stolichnaya.

If you drink a Russian Vodka like Stoli, Russian Standard, or any of the other brands listed above, switch to another brand from another country, or even a local brand from a local distillery. Stoli is the iconic Russian Vodka and it's returning to Russian ownership in 2014. Other brands like Russian Standard should also be boycotted. Do not drink Russian vodka. Do not buy Russian vodka. Ask your bartender at your favorite bar—gay or otherwise—to DUMP STOLI and DUMP RUSSIAN VODKA."

Savage also makes sure to point out that, despite what their wikipedia page might suggest, Stoli is in fact a Russian owned company and therefore a worthy target of the boycott.

Some have already begun to join the boycott. The Windy City Times reports that Sidetrack, one of Chicago's biggest gay bars, has stopped serving Stoli and other Russian vodkas. Another bar in Chicago, The Call, has joined the boycott as well.


Dan Savage Plans To 'Keep Inseminating His Husband And Keep His Fingers Crossed' For A Baby: VIDEO

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Dan Savage stopped by Real Time with Bill Maher yesterday to discuss a bevvy of issues that comprise what Maher called this year's big "surge for 'gay.'" Referencing his article, "I Can Die Now," Savage spoke about the very real financial penalties, vulnerabilities and persecutions that gay couples face on a daily basis. He explained that for fifteen years he lived in constant fear of the huge burden his husband and son would face should he die, leaving exorbitant inheritance taxes not unlike those incurred by Edie Windsor. It was only when the Supreme Court ruled section 3 of DOMA to be unconstitutional that Savage felt a massive weight lifted off his shoulders.

The conversation, which in typical Real Time fashion, covered a broad swath of issues, next touched on Savage's adoption of his now fifteen year old son. At the implication that he and his husband could not biologically have a baby without some outside help, Savage remarked, "I'm always telling people who say two men can't make a baby, anything is possible for God. I'm going to keep inseminating my husband and keep my fingers crossed."

Watch Savage shine and make sure to tune in around the 2:46 mark as he shares his plans for procreation while Grover Norquist glares disapprovingly in the distance AFTER THE JUMP...

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Dan Savage On The Risks Of Being Monogamish: VIDEO

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In the latest installment of his "Ask Anything" videos for Andrew Sullivan's The Dish, Dan Savage divulges what he thinks is the most dangerous part about being in a "monogamish" relationship, that is, a relationship in which, "you're mostly monogamous, with a little squish around the edges."

Watch the video AFTER THE JUMP...

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Dan Savage Offers Some Gay Advice For Straight Couples: VIDEO

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On the latest "Ask Anything" video for The Dish, Dan Savage discusses the benefits of gay couples not having to conform to gender expectations and suggests a four-word question that every straight couple should consider adopting into their sex life. 

Check it out, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Dan Savage Discusses His Views On Bisexuality And Biphobia: VIDEO

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On the latest "Ask Anything" video for The Dish, Dan Savage defends himself against accusations of biphobia and discusses how societal views on bisexuality have changed over the years.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Dan Savage Reveals the Part of His Book He Was Most Hesitant About Including: VIDEO

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In one chapter of his new book, American Savage, Dan Savage explores the topic of being both married and continuing to attend fetish events like Folsom Street Fair and International Mr. Leather, but tells The Dish it was the one chapter he was hesitant about including.

Find out why, AFTER THE JUMP...

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