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Intimate Photo of Russian Gay Couple Crowned World Press Photo of the Year

Nissen

Danish photographer Mads Nissen's above image of a gay couple in Russia has just won the World Press Photo of the Year 2014, the Associated Press reports:

The intimate image of Jon and Alex is part of a larger project by Nissen called "Homophobia in Russia" that highlights how life is increasingly difficult for sexual minorities in Russia.

Nissen said he sees the image, shot in St. Petersburg, as "a modern-day Romeo and Juliet story" about two people in love but facing outside forces who want to deny them their feelings.

Its sensitivity also appeared intended to act as a counterpoint to gruesome photographs and video spread by terrorists that increasingly come to dominate the news.

"Today, terrorists use graphic images for propaganda. We have to respond with something more subtle, intense and thoughtful," said World Press Photo jury member Alessia Glaviano.

Check out more images from Nissen's powerful and haunting "Homophobia in Russia" here


Odin Biron, American Star Of Hit Russian Sitcom, Comes Out As Gay

Odin Biron

Interns is the Russian equivalent of Scrubs: a handful of doctors-in-training deal with the day-to-day shenanigans of life in a hospital under an unreasonable boss while the main protagonist drifts in and out of wacky daydreams. Though the viewership is at best half of that of Scrubs, Interns' 3.7 million viewers per episode makes it one of Gazprom-Media’s flagship programs.

Odin Biron from Duluth, MN plays Phil, the fish-out-of-water American trying to navigate life in Russia, and due to the program's success Biron has found himself with unexpected celebrity status and is the de facto face of America in Russian pop culture.

Needless to say, it is a very big deal that he is a gay man.

Biron exists in that awkward space of publicly closeted and privately out: his family and very close friends know, but his workplace and the Russian populace at large are unaware, at least until now. Biron had good reason to keep it to himself beyond the general anti-gay sentiment pervading Russian culture. His co-worker who plays his boss - sort of the Dr. Cox role, to continue the Scrubs comparison - is Ivan Okhlobystin, the popular Russian actor, sci-fi writer, and aspiring politician who thinks gays should be burned alive in ovens.

Okhlobystin was actually rather fond of Biron; so much so that when Okhlobystin greets Biron with smiles and hugs he promises, "‘Odin, I’m gonna bomb the crap out of America, but I’m gonna save Minnesota because of you.’ ” His tune has since changed, attacking Biron on Twitter by calling him a "sodomite", banged his head against the wall, and "cursed fate", asking God to protect him from this "devilry". 

Presently Biron is splitting his time between Minneapolis and Moscow and has enrolled in culinary school in the States and is entertaining the idea of opening a theater, restaurant, or both, but first he has the sixth season of Interns - complete with very awkward script readings - to look forward to.


Anti-Gay Activist Scott Lively Considers Run For Congress in Massachusetts: VIDEO

6a00d8341c730253ef01b7c71806dd970b-800wi

Vile homophobic activist Scott Lively, who has been accused of inciting anti-gay hatred in Uganda, is considering running for Congress in a challenge to Democratic Representative Richard Neal, reports Right Wing Watch.

Lively, who was profiled in last year’s Human Rights Campaign report The Export of Hate, made the announcement on BarbWire, the nasty website belonging to Peter LaBarbera, one of the more dangerous anti-gay activists in the U.S.

His run at congress appears to have come about following a “huge victory” in last year’s run for Massachusetts governor - Lively polled 19,000 votes, less than 1% of those cast.

Lively explains he is hoping to serve in Congress in order to fight the “homosexual agenda” and "anti-Russian propaganda" that is "robbing social conservatives of their most valuable potential alliance in the world today.”

He also makes clear that god is on the side of the bigots in their fight to implement the “goals of Biblical Christianity” around the world.

It is not clear how the news that Lively is to stand trial for crimes against humanity for his “work” spreading anti-gay hatred around the globe will affect his run for congress.

“There are a number of reasons why I would pursue Congress rather than a state office, but one of them is my interest in foreign policy and concern about the disastrous actions of the Obama administration around the world.   

“I am especially concerned that the Neoconservatives (read Republican liberals) have aligned with the Obama administration re Russia and are jointly waging a campaign of anti-Russian propaganda designed to deceive conservatives into supporting a hot war with Russia.

“This is a not only very dangerous game geopolitically, it is robbing social conservatives of their most valuable potential alliance in the world today.  American and Russian conservatives could today be cooperating together to roll back liberalism around the world.  Instead, the cultural Marxists of both major US political parties are trying to drive a wedge between us with the absurd lie that Russia is trying to revive the Soviet Union.

“Neither Russia nor its president are without flaws, and it is as impossible to defend them against a campaign of relentless criticism as is anyone else but Jesus Christ.     

“But if  we ask the simple question ‘Which countries of the world and their current leadership align most closely to the goals of Biblical Christianity and of ideological conservatism?’ it’s a whole different ballgame.

“If we rank the current leaders and countries of the world by that standard Putin and Russia rank high on the list — certainly much higher than Obama and his version of America.  Indeed, is there any world leader speaking in defense of persecuted Christians in the Middle East like Putin has?  Is there any other ‘first world’ nation standing up against the homosexual agenda like Russia is doing?"

Watch Lively explain his bizarre theory on the different types of homosexuality, AFTER THE JUMP... (hint - you're a dysfunctional bully)

Continue reading "Anti-Gay Activist Scott Lively Considers Run For Congress in Massachusetts: VIDEO" »


Sam Smith Pledges to 'Never Go to Russia' Because of Country's Anti-LGBT Laws

British crooner Sam Smith has revealed he will never play in Russia because of the country's anti-LGBT laws, MTV UK reports:

SmithHe told Rolling Stone: "I don't hate Russia, but I just will never go to Russia.

"What they do to gay people there is just disgusting and it makes me very angry.

"I've even said, no matter how many billions of pounds you could offer me, I just couldn't, which makes me sad because I have Russian fans. They contact me on Twitter, it makes me sad."

Other singers such as Elton John, Lady Gaga, and Madonna continue to perform in Russia and use their platform to blast the country's anti-gay "propaganda" ban. 

Smith is up for Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best New Artist, Best Pop Vocal Album and Best Pop Solo at tonight's Grammy awards. 


Russian Group Plans To Out LGBT Teachers To 'Protect Children's Rights'

6a00d8341c730253ef01bb07cee94f970d-320wi (1)Timur Isayev/Bulatov (pictured right), the Russian anti-gay activist responsible for outing some 30 LGBT teachers to ruin their careers, may have gotten his karmic retribution last December but others are only too happy to carry on his work. A group identifying itself as the "public ombudsman for children’s rights" - because, as always, children make the best shields to hide behind when expressing one's hateful bigotries - "raided" a St. Petersburg school to demand the dismissal of a teacher supportive of LGBT rights and equality, as BuzzFeed reports.

These people are, of course, in no way affiliated with the actual governmental office of children's rights ombudsmen, an office held by a woman named Svetlana Agapitova. Of this rogue group a spokesman for Agapitova said,

In the subway station you can buy a certificate that says you’re a tsar and call yourself whatever you like. The question is what confirms your authority.

In response, the group replied,

[Agapitova] does not deal with the protection of morals, as well as the protection of the traditional family.

The group has promised to conduct regular "raids" as well as to create a public website where anyone can leave tips on what teachers to investigate.


Lesbians Protest Anti-Gay Russian Lawmaker with Airplane Kiss: PHOTO

Milonov kiss protest

With the general social climate in Russia one wouldn't be faulted for assuming that the country is naught but 6.6 million square miles of homophobia and the Baba Yaga, but every now and then glimmers of hope float to the surface. In this instance the Instagram account of infinitykseniya has photographic evidence of a woman who took advantage of a rare opportunity to make her distaste for the vile homophobia of Vitaly Milonov known.

Milonov, of course, is the author of St. Petersburg's law banning gay 'propaganda' which became the basis of the national law.

On a flight from Moscow to St. Petersburg, Kseniya noticed that the notorious lawmaker was sitting behind her and decided that was the perfect time to take a selfie...while making out with her girlfriend. According to Meduza, the caption of the Instagram photo read:

Who’s that behind us??? MILONOV! But we don’t give a sh*t! We’re flying to our favorite [lesbian] club Infinity

She later wrote on her VKontakte page in greater detail about the events on the plane:

Lots of people are asking me about my last post: did we really go and kiss in front of Milonov? Was it really Milonov? Maybe it was just somebody who looked like him? What was the flight like? and so on. Here are my answers: Yes it was really Milonov! As fate would have it, he was sitting in the row right behind us. The whole flight from Moscow to St. Petersburg, Milonov said nothing to us. We staged the photoshoot in front of him, and he hid behind his tablet, when he realized. We’re all super happy. Him—probably not so much. But who cares! Attached is the rest of the photoshoot. #milonov #antihomophobia

Milonov responded with his usual sense of class and decorum by calling the women inhuman animals, demanding they be blacklisted from flying, and threatening to call the Cossacks, the ultra-Orthodox group who brutally beat Pussy Riot about this time last year.

Milonov


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