GAY PROTESTERS WILL RETURN TO RUSSIAN CONSULATE | February 6 Queer Nation Demo To Mark Opening of Sochi Olympics Vladimir Putin’s Anti-Gay Laws and
State-Sanctioned Anti-Gay Violence at Issue
Posted by Melanie Nathan
New York, NY (January 30, 2014) — Members of the gay activist group Queer Nation and others who oppose the Russian government’s continued attacks on human rights, including the rights of LGBT Russians, will mark the start of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games with a protest outside the Russian consulate in New York City at noon on February 6.
“Gay bashing is not an Olympic sport,” said Scott Wooledge, a member of Queer Nation. “The International Olympic Committee, the Olympic sponsors, including Coke, P&G, and McDonald’s, and the athletes who are competing in Russia have refused to support human rights — so we will. The Russian government is on notice that the start of the Olympics is not the end of this fight. “Vladimir Putin,” Russia’s president, will appear at the protest outside the Russian consulate at 9 E. 91st in Manhattan, where he is expected to desecrate an Olympic flag.
Last June, the Russian government enacted legislation that effectively bans any pro-LGBT statement in public or private and on the Internet. In July, a law banning adoptions of Russian children by people from any jurisdiction that allows same sex marriage took effect.
Last year, the Russian parliament considered legislation that would allow the government to remove children from a household headed by a gay or lesbian parent. While that legislation has been withdrawn ahead of the Olympics, activists believe the parliament will reintroduce it after the Games are over.
That legislation’s passage has been followed by unprecedented, effectively state-sanctioned violence against LGBT people, who have been harassed, arrested, beaten, raped, tortured, and killed. Activists had called for a boycott of Sochi and for the Games to be moved from Russia, citing its abysmal human rights record, including its attacks on LGBT Russians.
The protest is the latest in a series of high-profile protests launched by Queer Nation dating to July 2013. They include December 12 actions at two NBC employee Christmas parties and earlier confrontations with Moscow government officials at meetings promoting US investment in Russia. The group has also targeted supporters of Putin performing at the Metropolitan Opera and Carnegie Hall as well as “Russia Day” at the New York Stock Exchange.
Queer Nation has also targeted corporate sponsors of the Olympics, most notably Coca-Cola and McDonalds, through pointed, successful social media campaigns.
“Putin’s anti-gay campaign has made him an international pariah,” continued Wooledge. “Overturning these laws and ensuring the rights of LGBT Russians is the only way for him to begin to repair that damage to his reputation on the world stage.”
Queer Nation is a direct action group dedicated to ending discrimination, violence and repression against the LGBT community.