November 19, 2011

"During the discussion about the 'propaganda of homosexuality' bill in the St. Petersburg legislature, a city councilor proposed banning the rainbow symbol."

"Russian bloggers started joking that St. Petersburg would next ban the rainbow from nature. I laughed, too, and continued to think that these measures are, above all, ridiculous."
But on Thursday, the day after the St. Petersburg bill was passed and just as Moscow legislators were promising to pass one of their own, my 13-year-old son, who attends a private school with a liberal reputation in Moscow, came home and told me he had removed his new earring after a teacher told him that wearing earrings means you’re gay and is therefore inappropriate.

23 comments:

Bob Ellison said...

I wish I could find this clip: back in the 1980s, before the Soviet Union collapsed, Phil Donahue and Vladimir Pozner did a show with a live audience in America and a live one in Russia where the hosts prowled, Donahue-like, amongst their respective audiences and encouraged discussion and queries between the two. At one point, an American audience member commented that America had lots of discussion lately about homosexuals and their rights etc., and asked the Russian audience how the culture was handling homosexuality over there. The Russian audience all laughed. Pozner took the microphone to one of them, and she said roughly "we are laughing because, you see, we don't have homosexuals in Russia."

Shouting Thomas said...

There has to be some middle ground between the old world cultures that want to suppress homosexuality and the Western glorification of homosexuality.

But, I'll be damned if I know what it is.

Paddy O said...

A 13 year old boy with an earring? Is this common nowadays?

edutcher said...

Earring only depends on which ear.

Supposedly, the right one is the wrong one, as they say here.

Shouting Thomas said...

There has to be some middle ground between the old world cultures that want to suppress homosexuality and the Western glorification of homosexuality.

But, I'll be damned if I know what it is.


As long as it's consenting adults, we're not going to put a camera in everybody's bedroom, but behave yourself in public.

Applicable to heterosexuals, as well.

EDH said...

What about the "John 3:16" guy?

(Honestly, I didn't see this post until after I commented on South Park alien thread.)

Carol said...

As long as it's consenting adults, we're not going to put a camera in everybody's bedroom, but behave yourself in public.

You'd think we'd have an easy, static situation like that but we don't. That was 30 years ago. Now, each state and locality is being hit with proposals for hate speech laws, if they don't already have them, also anti-bullying laws, which are mostly a cover for more gay right so *questioning* youth won't have their feelings hurt, and laws letting transsexuals use any rest room they please.

And anyone who apposes this juggernaut is a Taliban hater and homophobe.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Yeah, and I'm sure the same teacher said the same to all the girls with pierced ears, as they were obviously signalling their lesbianism.

wv: unchai. Otherwise known as "coffee."

Revenant said...

There has to be some middle ground between the old world cultures that want to suppress homosexuality and the Western glorification of homosexuality.

The reason Western culture "glorifies" homosexuality (by which I assume you mean "fails to spit on homosexuals") is that most of us have no problem with gay people. This infuriates people, such as yourself, who dislike homosexuals.

You can't have a middle ground. Either people are free to express their opinions or they are not.

Frosty said...

I'm curious as to how you all define homosexual misbehavior. I'm wondering what, exactly, do gays do in public we shouldn't be doing. Holding hands? Wearing an earring? I take it to mean you don't want anyone, anywhere to appear gay in public.

sfw said...

I've always been a bit suspicious of men who wear earrings, I don't think they are gay just strange.

Simon said...

I'm puzzled. They're not banning homosexuality. They aren't even criticizing homosexuality. They're just banning the propagandization of homosexuality. Why is that not the middle ground that Shouting Thomas asked for? "Do what you like, just don't try to corrupt others." Just something to consider.

Simon said...

I mean, we're back to the same old theme I've mentioned here for years: That toleration and normalization are different. Toleration means "I don't like it, but I'm not going to stop you." Normalization means "there's nothing wrong with it and we shouldn't do anything to make anyone feel that it isn't normal." Those are wildly different concepts. A friend of my son is having his tongue split down the middle next week; I'm not saying that we should make it illegal, but we should certainly not accept or embrace it as normal. Well, true enough, one isn't born a fool, but alcoholics can say that they were born that way; we tolerate alcoholics, but we certainly shouldn't embrace it as normal. Society has an interest in maintaining the mainstream and allowing certain behaviors to be understood as outside the pale even while not making them illegal. Again, a liberal society is a tolerant society, but a society that normalizes all deviations is a society without boundaries.

Robert said...
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Frosty said...

All I can say in response to Simon and Shouting Thomas, who says the middle ground should be "applicable to heterosexuals, as well," is to go do something about it. Because for now I only hear complaints about public displays of sexuality when it involves gay people. Just watch any block of television commercials and see how many ads sell sex involving heterosexual couples. Drive down a street in any city and look at the billboards. Go to your grocery or department store around Halloween and ask them to remove the sexy theme costumes, because kids might see it.

Until then, don't ask gay people everywhere to play by a different set of rules, or ask them to go through life behaving in a way designed to make homophobes feel comfortable. I'm fortunate to live in the U.S., where I can wear a rainbow wristband if I choose. Simon apparently thinks Russian authoritarianism is a better system.

Frosty said...

Again, a liberal society is a tolerant society, but a society that normalizes all deviations is a society without boundaries.

Well, of course. But no one is saying all deviations should be normalized.

Society has an interest in maintaining the mainstream and allowing certain behaviors to be understood as outside the pale even while not making them illegal.

You're not arguing for liberalism, but illiberal authoritarianism. Liberal societies do not marginalize behavior for the sake of it. There have to be valid reasons. Alcholism is rightly marginalized because it's dangerous and leads to harm spilling over into the community, whether through domestic abuse or drunken driving accidents.

We're saying: there is no good reason or valid social purpose in marginalizing homosexuality. Rather, we consider marginalizing homosexuality to be of greater harm (to homosexuals) than any harm afflicted on others (there is none, actually).

Christopher said...

I'd say the gay rights movements would be best served by marginalizing the public fetish parties that are many modern day gay pride parades.

Chip S. said...

there is no good reason or valid social purpose in marginalizing homosexuality.

There is a reason. People can disagree about how "good" a reason it is, but it most certainly exists.

Imagine a world where living organisms act as if they are trying to maximize the probability that their genes are transmitted to the next generation (see Dawkins's book The Selfish Gene, for example).

Now imagine a world in which social approval of a particular choice increases the extent to which that choice is made.

You should now see why people who think that homosexuality is, to some extent, a matter of individual choice would not want it to be "normalized".

You don't have to like the consequence of this line of reasoning, but you should try to understand it. It would make you more tolerant of views like Simon's, and you could have a potentially constructive discussion with him and with Shouting Thomas.

sorepaw said...
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S said...

If this were among the biggest threats to civil liberties in Russia right now, Russia would be a much better place.

The Crack Emcee said...

For once, I will salute Russia:

Fuck a rainbow.

Simon said...

sorepaw said...
"Simon said that 'society has an interest in maintaining the mainstream and allowing certain behaviors to be understood as outside the pale even while not making them illegal.' So where do you draw the line?"

As in so many things, such a power is far too dangerous to vest it in a single individual or even a single generation. In this case, as in most, the line should be drawn by the collective and cumulative judgment of tradition.

bagoh20 said...

I support banning rainbows. They are perpetrating a fraud - there is no pot of gold at the end. I search every time I see one, and...nothing, ever.

RonF said...

Which ear? What I was taught was that "left is right and right is wrong". So he should be able to wear it in his left ear.