OpinionMon Aug 26, 2013 - 11:46 am EST
Gay panic over new Russian laws
August 26, 2013 (crisismagazine.com) – A psychiatrist of the early 20th century coined “homosexual panic” to describe an overreaction by heterosexuals who have been hit on by a gay guy. Now it’s the gays turn to panic, in this case by any public criticism, imaginary or otherwise, or legal restriction on their proselytizing.
Gay writer Jonathan Capehart published a short piece in the Washington Post this week in which he oh-so-bravely spoke truth to Gospel power. He attended his aunt’s funeral in North Carolina at which the preacher’s “guest eulogy gave way to a harsh sermon about who can and cannot get into the kingdom of heaven.”
From what Capehart quotes, the preacher did not actually talk about who can get into heaven but rather who can “transform” their lives by washing themselves in the “blood of the Lamb.”
“During his oration, I vowed I would not shake his hand.” But Capehart did shake the Reverend’s hand and then said to him, “Your sermon was offensive to me.” Taken aback the Preacher say, “What?” “Your sermon was offensive to me. I need you to know that. That is all I have to say.” Not waiting for or even wanting a response, Capehart stalked off.
There’s a lot packed into this brief encounter. It is unclear whether the preacher even mentioned homosexuality. Capehart said the preacher quoted from a bible passage that mentions many sins including homosexuality but it appears that the preacher only highlighted a “pimp becoming a preacher” and a “prostitute becoming a prophet.” But that was enough to get Capehart going.
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What followed was the classic sneak attack, assertion of victimhood, name-calling, followed by a refusal to engage in any meaningful way. Called “jamming,” the purpose is not to debate the issue respectfully or otherwise, but to shame opponents into silence, castigate them, and cast them into outer societal darkness.
“Jamming” comes from a book called After the Ball, a 1989 manifesto on how homosexuals could triumph over the culture. Capehart caught the preacher off guard, claimed he was a victim, implied the preacher is a hater and a bigot, and then walked off without giving the preacher a chance to talk, explain or even to apologize. Brave. Very brave, Jonathan and very textbook, too.
Something similar is happening with the evolving situation in Russia. The Russian parliament recently passed a national law forbidding homosexual proselytizing to schoolchildren. The law also forbids public manifestations like parades. An additional law forbids homosexual adoption of children or foreign adoption into countries that allow for homosexual “marriage.”
Opponents of the law are not content simply to shock their friends with what is really going on in Russia. After all, these new laws are enough to shock the sensibilities of westerners where homosexuality has largely triumphed over the culture. But opponents of the Russian law must go further in gilding the lily.
They tell us that it is now illegal to be homosexual in Russia. Gay writer Harvey Fierstein wrote a few weeks ago in the New York Times that parents who speak positively to their children about homosexuality could lose their children and get jail time. He wrote that people even suspected of gayness could be jailed.
They tell us that athletes suspected of being gay will be arrested when they arrive in Russia for the winter Olympics next year. No less than Jay Leno on the Tonight Show said to President Obama that it has become “illegal” to be homosexual in Russia. He compared it to Germany under the Nazis, said it was like taking away the Jews. I would expect a firestorm after Jay Leno compared the gassing of 6 million Jews with the inability of homosexuals to tell their story to school children. You would think he might have been corrected by the President of the United States who was sitting right there, but he wasn’t.
Now, there are some very nasty things going on in Russia with regard to gays. Some are being beaten by vigilante mobs. Some say the thugs are encouraged and protected by the police though I see no evidence of that. In fact, the New York Times ran a picture this week of a gay-beating thug being physically detained and arrested by Russian police.
We cannot approve in any way the beating of people for the mere fact of being gay or even expressing it. But, I wonder if there is a bit of provocation going on. After all, pictures of gays with bloody noses are pure propaganda gold in the western press.
You have to wonder, though, is life so hard for gays in Russia? Do they have to live underground constantly in fear of their lives?
I was in Russia a few weeks ago and saw open transvestitism on the street not once but twice and both times within a stones through of the Kremlin and the Duma which is the Russian parliament that banned gay propaganda to school children. And none of the dress-wearing men were being arrested, or beaten. In fact, they seemed to be having a good time.
Just how gay is Moscow? You don’t have to walk down a dingy street in the dark of night and knock on an unmarked door to find what you’re looking for. Google “Gay Moscow” and you find clubs, cafes, bathhouses, and dance parties.
Chubabar-BVP is “the best gay after party in Moscow. Trendy music. Trendy gays. Very friendly atmosphere.”
You can go to “Propaganda Gay Night” at a place called Propaganda for “Sunday gay parties … only gays there.”
Did you know that in Moscow there are two gay beaches? Silver Forest/Serebryanly Bor “is the most visited.”
There’s a place called 12 Volt Club that boasts a “UN certificate for the best gay bar in Moscow.”
What about St. Petersburg, you wonder? There is Club Central Station that is “located in the heart of the city … it features great looking dancers who you might wish to feed fruit.”
Club Cabaret is “the best gay place in town.” Located in the former Soviet Palace of Culture it features a midnight transvestite show “but before and after the performing drag queens you can dance, dance, dance.” A travel writer said of Club Cabaret, “We did not enter the dark room, but we know from stories that it can be pretty thrilling there.”
There’s a place called the Bunker “where you can meet people and watch gay videos, private rooms, showers, pleasant atmosphere.”
One website steers their clientele to a regular bathhouse “not a gay sauna” where it is fun to go on Tuesdays “to see a couple of hundred naked 18-22 year old cadets from the Naval Academy.”
Do gays in Russia live in the catacombs always fearful of their lives? You be the judge, and the next time a panic-stricken gay writer starts “jamming” that it is illegal to be gay in Russia, tell him about the Bunker.
Republished with permission from Crisis Magazine