I could use the opportunity to publicize the abominable antigay laws passed by Russia’s lower house of parliament that essentially forbid public expression of pro-gay views. The measures — and anti-gay statements by various Russian officials, including President Vladimir Putin — have encouraged harassment of and attacks on gays. The situation for gays in Russia has become so dire that some have compared next year’s Sochi Olympics to the 1936 Berlin Games, when the world stood in silence as Hitler’s Germany ramped up its oppression of Jews, gays and other minorities.
So I told the RT producer that I would be happy to appear on the program, and I asked the network to provide a car to ferry me to the studio and then to the airport after the show, as I had a flight that evening to Tallinn, Estonia. This was hardly an unusual request, and the producer readily agreed.
The following day, I set out to look for some gay-pride paraphernalia — ideally a rainbow flag I could hide until my moment on live TV. Hours scouring downtown Stockholm turned up nothing. Then, in a bargain bin at a vintage-clothing store, I spotted a pair of rainbow suspenders.