Putin Claims He And Russia Support LGBT Rights Despite The Evidence To The Contrary

Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview on “60 Minutes” this Sunday that despite all of the evidence to the contrary, Russia is not homophobic and that he supports LGBT rights.

“The problem of sexual minorities in Russia had been deliberately exaggerated from the outside for political reasons, I believe, without any good basis,” he said. He also claimed that gays in Russia are able to “live in peace,” which is interesting, given this reaction to two gay men just walking down the street holding hands in Moscow:

But according to Putin, “We have no persecution at all.” And he believes that despite the fact that Roskomnadzor, Russia’s media watchdog, has investigated gay pride Facebook emojis as potentially harmful to children as part of Russia’s anti-gay propaganda law.

Defending that law, Putin told CBS:

I believe we should leave kids in peace. We should give them a chance to grow, help them to realise who they are and decide for themselves. Do they consider themselves a man or a woman? A female? A male? Do they want to live in a normal, natural marriage or a non-traditional one?”

And therein lies the problem: Putin sees heterosexual relationships as “normal” and “natural,” and gay relationships as some deviation from what’s natural. I’d say that that’s where his claims fall apart, but where his claims to Russian tolerance really fall apart is in the fact that Russia has not similarly banned heterosexual propaganda (if he’s going to claim that it’s just an issue of letting children “decide for themselves” who they are), in the fact that Russia has no legal protections for gay couples and transgender individuals, in the fact that acceptance of gays has been declining in Russia, and in the fact that 74 percent of Russians say that society should not accept homosexuality.

Putin claims that gays in Russia can work, can get by, but it’s clear enough that they can only do that in the closet. And to Americans, that’s not good enough.

[Washington Post]
[Pew Research]

[Image via Getty]

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