Since Vladimir Putin outlawed public displays of affection by gay couples in Russia, there has been a major backlash in political gestures from world leaders and social media. Vague statutes within this no-touch law, gays are not only facing punishment for kissing but even for holding hands and walking together on the street. On top of that, the law prohibits educating youth about gay sexuality. And it was passed with a resounding 436-0 vote.
At the same time, Brazil considered passing a "Gay Cure" bill, on the basis that homosexuality is a "disease" of the mind. This trend of discrimination has been prevalent throughout history and rooted mainly in religious intolerance.
And in supposedly more developed countries, gay PDA is still met with hostility. Just last week in Oregon, a taxi driver booted two women from his cab onto the middle of an interstate because they had kissed in his backseat. A few months earlier in Sacramento, a gay couple was kicked out of a mall for kissing one too many times.
Claiming evolved freedom and tolerance while punishing gay public displays of affection shows not only the pettiness, but the hypocrisy of political and humanitarian standards in the U.S. What is to be said of the founding freedoms of the Constitution - primarily, the freedom of expression? How can the U.S. uphold laws to permit gay marriage in the same states that ban married couples from publicly showing their affection?
At the nub of it all, these international decisions are not a ban on PDA at all - they are a ban on gay individuals themselves, which is horrifying. They seek to eradicate the gay sense of self, identity and empowerment - rooted in the freedom to choose one's sexual orientation.
Clearly, these anti-gay movements evince modern society's stealthy support of an ideology still hiding in our closets: homogenization. The idea that only a select style of self expression - one in tandem with the founding tradition, culture, or religion of a nation - is permitted to exist.
It's easy to see, then, that however ridiculous these attempts to ban gay PDA in the US and around the world are, they are no laughing matter. Such actions are founded on the very same principles of hate and intolerance that led to mass genocides - the Holocaust, the Partition of India, the Rwandan Massacre, the Killing Fields of Cambodia, the Cold War, the Cultural Revolution in China, and so on.
To prevent these humanitarian crises from happening again, we have to assess what citizens today are doing to stop anti-gay activity and reclaim the natural rights of LGBT citizens. In response to Vladimir's ruling, Harvy Fierstein fired, "Boycott all things Russian" - and the world listened. To show international support, San Francisco activist group Gays Without Borders dumped Russian Vodka down the sewer, urging the mayor to stop selling Stoli in the Bay area, period. Boycott fever spread to Seattle, L.A., N.Y.C., Miami, San Diego, Chicago, Columbus, Vancouver and Toronto, Great Britain and Australia, as owners of gay clubs and bars took the foreign liquor off their shelves.
Their reaction is inspiring, yet sobering. How much will gays have to give up before they are allowed to take up space as human beings with full rights?
The answer, as is for the future of gay rights and equality around the world, is uncertain. It's tricky to decipher how much the law is translating unveiled shadows of hate regimes of the past. The world struggles to let go of inane intolerance and follow through with implementation of gay rights in citizen behavior and legal rulings - which would continue to greatly benefit the economy and ease social tensions globally. Only with consistency and clarity of actions, socially and politically, can the gay rights movement put its foot down and step forward on the path to equality.
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Devon Grey publishes articles at QueerWorld which is a LGBT business-networking environment providing a venue to develop and expand your trusted network of business professionals. By supporting the LGBT community we support you! United, we make positive local and global changes.
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