Seems like this is still a thing
Yes, it’s Figure Skating Friday
Take that, Putin!
Last October, there was the heartwarming story of 2,000 Swedes who gathered in the Olympic Stadium of Stockholm to sing the Russian national anthem in a statement of solidarity with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Russians. Called "Live and Let Love," the final video of the event is now here and just in time for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
"For many Russians the song has been a symbol of oppression," organizers of the event said in a statement. "However, the lyrics of the song were changed in year 2000 and in 2009 a poll showed that 56 percent of respondents felt proud when hearing the anthem, and that 81 percent liked it. Still, there are many people in Russia who are not able to sing the song with pride, among them many millions of LGBT people. It is their anthem too, but the state is criminalizing their lives."
When Russian President Vladimir Putin banned gay "propaganda" in June last year, Russia’s LGBT community went from being a stigmatized fringe group to full-blown enemies of the state. Homophobia becoming legislation means it’s now not only accepted in Russia but actively encouraged, which has led to a depressing rise in homophobic attacks and murders.
The main aim of the law, which essentially bans any public display of homosexuality, is to prevent minors from getting the impression that being gay is normal. Which means that, if you’re young and gay in Putin’s Russia, you’re ostracized and cut off from any kind of legal support network.
We travel to Russia ahead of February’s Sochi Winter Olympics to investigate the effects of the country’s state-sanctioned homophobia. We take a ride in Moscow’s gay taxi service, hear about the rise of homophobic vigilante groups, and meet Yulia, who runs LGBT self-defense classes.
This episode sees Stephen visit Brazil, home to the largest gay pride celebration in the world and a place that has some of the best legislation on the planet for gay equality. But it has come at a price. All of the advances have brought about a violent backlash against gay people; on average, one gay person is murdered every 36 hours in Brazil. Stephen sees how this is impacting on the lives of gay men and women there and also confronts the politician leading the fight against gay rights.
Stephen also visits Russia, where gays are now worse off than they have been for a long time. Their rights are being constantly eroded by a conservative government, backed by the disapproval of the Russian Orthodox Church. Stephen then travels to India, where the old British laws that criminalised homosexuality have just been overturned. Modern India is now looking to Hindu traditions as it forges a more positive way forward for its gay citizens, including its once celebrated transgender community.