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Check Out This Irish Senator's Awesome Smack Down of Russia's Anti-gay Propaganda Ban: VIDEO


Senator David Norris, Ireland's first openly gay person elected to public office, appeared on RT's Worlds Apart program this week to dissect Russia's ever-increasing crackdown on LGBT citizens and their rights. 

Explaining that Russia's attitudes towards gay rights are "30 years behind" Western sensibilities, Norris wasted no time in bringing up the "dishonest" campaign that the Russian Orthodox Church and lawmakers have led in trying to "protect children" with the country's anti-gay 'propaganda' ban. 

When host Oksana Boyko explained that perhaps Russia's anti-gay efforts were related more to protecting its cultural "heteronormativity" rather than criminalizing homosexuality or perpetuating discrimination, Norris fired back:

Russia with love"What about parades, marches banned by the mayor of Moscow? Why was that? What about the people being beaten up, being dragged out of their homes, being tortured, being subject to vicious, brutal attacks by thugs in Moscow with the police standing by. That's hardly equality...what we should be doing is making sure that our family structures are more rational and they reflect the views of everyone in society and that we protect everyone in society. We don't just do lip service for the individual's rights and say "Oh you can be homosexual in a hole in the ground somewhere as long as nobody knows about it, but we're perfectly alright with you being clobbered and battered to death on the streets of Moscow with the police turning the other way'" 

It's a 30 minutes segment, but well worth a full watch - especially towards the end when Boyko gets all flustered after being asked about Vladimir Putin's own sexuality in light of his fondness for "galloping around with little small beady eyes, half-naked on a horse."


Related: "Documentary To Russia With Love Looks at LGBT Rights in Russia in the Lead Up to Sochi Olympics: VIDEO"

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Documentary 'To Russia With Love' Looks at LGBT Rights In Russia In The Lead Up To Sochi Olympics: VIDEO


To Russia With Love, a new documentary from EPIX narrated by Jane Lynch, takes a closer look at what life is like for LGBT people in Russia and at the convergence of sports, human rights and activism that took place during the Sochi Olympics earlier this year. As the film's synopsis notes, "LGBT athletes and activists [had to] choose whether to risk their own safety by speaking out against Russia's anti-gay laws." The doc follows out figure skater and commentator Johnny Weir and official US Olympic delegate Billie Jean King as they come to Sochi and meet a 17-year-old gay Russian named Vlad who details the tragic truths of the hardships faced by LGBT people in one of the world's most virulently anti-gay nations. The film also features Jason Collins, Stephen Fry, Greg Louganis, Blake Skjellerup and Mark Tewksbury.

Watch young Vlad talk about his experience of Russia's hatred for the LGBT community, along with his meeting Weir and King along with a trailer for the documentary, AFTER THE JUMP...

The documentary will debut on EPIX on October 29 at 8 PM. 


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Russia Celebrates Putin's Birthday With Tribute To His Manliness


No, that's not an Onion headline. To celebrate the Russian President's birthday, members of a Pro-Putin Facebook group set up an exhibit in Moscow's "Red October" showspace entitled "The 12 Labors of Putin", directly comparing the President to the ancient Greek demigod. The works and their metaphorical associations are laughably earnest. Putin's "12 labors" are:

  1. PutinNemean Lion - Putin's triumphs over terrorism
  2. Lernaean Hydra - Putin's triumph over U.S. sanctions and battles with Japan, the E.U., and Canada
  3. Ceryneian Hind - Putin claiming the Olympics in Sochi
  4. Erymanthian Boar - Putin's liquidation of oligarchs
  5. Augean Stables - Putin's fight against corruption
  6. Stymphalian Birds - Putin stopping air strikes on Syria
  7. Cretan Bull - Putin's annexation of Crimea
  8. Mares of Diomedes - Putin's contract for French Mistral warships
  9. Belt of Hippolyta - Putin's south stream gas pipeline plan
  10. Cattle of Geryon - Putin's gas contract with China
  11. Apples of Hesperides - Putin's support of cease-fire agreement in Ukraine
  12. Capture of Cerberus - Putin's future defeat of the U.S.

The tribute is so inappropriate on so many levels, not the least of which being that thanks to his multitude of shirtless photos it's evident that Putin lacks the pectoral girth to be compared to the strongest man of Greek legend. More to the point, the Labors of Hercules were an act of penance after Herc went temporarily mad and murdered his wife and six children; Putin is more accustomed to being on the receiving end of apologies. Plus, there's that whole thing where Herc's nephew Iolaus was his gay lover, though one imagines that inconvenient detail gets swept under the rug like Tchaikovsky.

Russia Ends U.S. Student Exchange Program, Blames Elderly Michigan Gay Couple

Russia’s children’s rights ombudsman Pavel Astakhov

Russia has canceled a foreign exchange program with the U.S., alleging that a gay couple persuaded a man to stay with them and apply for asylum, reports The Guardian.

FlexSince 1992, the state department-financed Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) has brought 23,000 students aged 15 to 17 from Russia and former Soviet countries to study in U.S. schools and live with local families for one academic year.

Human rights organisations have accused the Russian government of promoting discrimination following the introduction of a "gay propaganda" law last year.

Announcing the end of the country’s participation in FLEX, Russia’s children’s rights ombudsman Pavel Astakhov [pictured above] said the couple became the legal guardians of the Russian student, after the student left his host family and stayed in the U.S. when the school year ended in May.

According to Russian state news agency Itar-Tass, the student met the couple - elderly veterans who had previously adopted two American boys - in church and the men offered to become his immigration sponsors and pay for him to study at Harvard University.

Astakhov explained on Twitter that the cancellation came about because of a “gross violation by the host country, the United States, of the obligation to unconditionally return students from Russia who travel there to study.”

In an interview with the official government newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta, he added that the student moved in with the two men in Michigan, “and they gradually developed – how can I say this carefully – close friendly relations.”

Anton Meshkov, a former FLEX student, said the fact that 15 young people are thought to have stayed in the U.S. after the program ended was not a “serious reason to take away the chance to travel from hundreds of kids”.

“It’s absurd to suppose that the program could facilitate the seduction of young Russians. As a participant in this program myself, I know what a serious selection process host families go through.”

Last year, Astakhov vowed he would do everything possible to ensure that Russian orphans were only adopted by heterosexual couples. 

Jon Stewart Interviews Director of 'Hunted' Film Exposing Anti-gay Russian Vigilante Groups: VIDEO


On last night's episode of The Daily Show, filmmaker Ben Steele sat down with Jon Stewart to discuss his new documentary Hunted: The War Against Gays in Russia - a film that exposes the dangerous work of anti-gay groups Parents of Russia and Occupy Paedophilia.

The film has already aired in the UK and is set to make its premiere here stateside Monday, October 6 on HBO. 

HuntedSaid Steele:

The vigilante groups - they're unfortunately proud of what they do. They believe that they are carrying out good acts and they believe they are acting in the name of the majority of Russian people. And they believe that they have the tacit support of Russian authorities.

"They believe they have it, or they have it?" Stewart asked in reply. 

Watch the interview, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Controversy Surrounds Screening Of Gay Teen Documentary in Russia - VIDEO

404 film

A Russian television channel has created controversy surrounding the screening of a documentary about gay teens last month at the Pacific Meridians festival in Vladivostok, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

According to People's Patriotic Channel, despite the 18+ rating of the documentary Deti 404 (Children 404), tickets to the screening were sold to minors without a proper ID check.

404404 refers to an online forum for Russian-speaking LGBTQ teens and to an error message displayed on Russian computer screens when people attempt to navigate to a web page that doesn't exist. 

People's Patriotic Channel claims that the documentary violates Russia's "gay propaganda" law.

A screening of the film in St Petersburg last April was disrupted by Orthodox Christian activists and police.

The festival's organizers have said the theater is to blame for the incident but added that the inclusion of the film into one of the festival's sections was important as it deals with a major social issue.

Festival programming director Natalia Timofeyeva said “this film is very useful because we are striving for a tolerant society in which people who are different can also exist.”

Watch a trailer for Deti 404, AFTER THE JUMP...

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