Friday, 7 February 2014

Challenging Russian homophobia as the world prepares for the Sochi Olympics

It’s been a momentous and historic week for equality in Scotland.  The passing of the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill represents a significant landmark in Scottish legislation and mirrors changes in social attitudes which have been on an upward curve since the early 1980’s.

Within a few short decades we have moved away from the criminalisation of homosexuality to accepting LGBT people as being rightfully able to express their love in marriage just as other couples have long taken for granted.

Quite rightly it is a time for celebration. 

Yet, whilst we reflect on a victory, in many parts of the world Human and Equal rights for LGBT people are not advancing and in many worrying developments gains that had been made are being rescinded with devastating consequences.

The eyes of the world are now focused on Russia as it gears up for the winter Olympics in Sochi and with this come the added scrutiny of Russia’s duplicitous human rights record.

The introduction of a federal law banning the “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships” to minors has made it virtually illegal to place same-sex relationships on a level footing with heterosexual ones or to even promote  LGBT rights.

The affect has been to further isolate the LGBT community whilst reinforcing an underlying intolerance towards homosexuality, a trend which has been on the rise.  This coupled with reports of increased arrests of activists and a stark rise in hate crime motivated by homophobia has served to make an already deteriorating situation worse for LGBT people in Russia.

The STUC LGBT Workers Committee shares the concerns of civil rights groups and campaigners in expressing our disgust at the scenes of violence, reports of torture and ultimately deaths of LGBT individuals and activists.

We cannot allow Sochi and the winter Olympics to be used as a mechanism for the Russian authorities to attempt to sanitise its human rights record.  It is vital that we show support during and after the games to enable the LGBT community in Russia to fight this legislation whilst encouraging the Government to refrain from propagating a hostile public perception based on prejudice.  To this end we support the actions of activists and those athletes who are openly questioning this repressive legislation and ask that supporters in the UK contact their MP to lobby the Russian ambassador.


Craig Cameron

Chair of the STUC LGBT Workers Committee.


No comments:

Post a Comment