How The Russian Invasion of Crimea Shows That Gays Were Totally Right About Putin And Conservatives Were Totally Wrong

Vladimir_Putin_12015So Vladimir Putin has pretty much annexed Crimea, ignoring the inconvenient fact that it belongs to another sovereign nation. In doing so, Putin has shown complete disdain for the opinion of the rest of the world and the rights of Ukrainians.

Who could have predicted such irrational behavior?

We could.

The homophobia that is rampant in Russia is not just about bigotry. It’s a barometer for totalitarianism. Russia didn’t just pass a law that violated human rights. It enabled — even celebrated — violence against LGBT people. That’s what the protests surrounding the Winter Olympics in Sochi were about.

It’s no surprise that one of the first Russians sanctioned by the U.S. government is Dmitry Kiselyov, a Russian news anchor who has called on gay people’s hearts to be posthumously “burned or buried” after we die.

The problem is too many people, even those sympathetic go gay equality, were blind to the connection between virulent homophobia and totalitarianism. It was all too easy to look at the antigay policies as isolated pathologies and not part of a larger pattern. When Putin sent Russian troops into Crimea, Angela Merkel was quoted as saying the Russian president was “in another world.”

But how could anyone who has heard Putin’s unbelievable denials of Russian homophobia ever have thought otherwise? This is the man who said that Russia’s antigay law is “no infringement on the rights of sexual minorities.” That doesn’t comport with reality on any planet that we’re aware of.

(As a side note, it’s worth pointing out that the Malaysian government’s complete lack of transparency regarding the missing Malaysia Air jet could be predicted by its vehement homophobia. The government has long used antigay hysteria as a political tool against its opponents, signaling its totalitarian bent.)

In fairness to Merkel, she probably had fewer illusions than other leaders about Putin to begin with. But that’s not true of American antigay conservatives. They are trapped by their own tunnel vision about LGBT rights. Franklin Graham says he’s not endorsing Putin when he offers praise for his antigay policies. But Putin’s homophobia is a of a piece with his totalitarianism. If you like the homophobia, you are implicitly arguing against Western-style democracy because you don’t like its acceptance of LGBT people as, well, people.

Perhaps the most revealing example in this regard is Scott Lively, the longtime antigay activist who is proud to claim paternity of Russia’s homophobia. In through-the-looking-glass reasoning that would do Putin proud, Lively says that Russia’s embrace of traditional values is a reasonable response to an increasingly gay-friendly West. 

I ask you, which is the greater threat to human rights: Russia’s law preventing homosexual activists from disseminating their propaganda to children, or the lawless decrees of these American federal judges?” Lively argues. 

And there you have it in a nutshell. If you think that the federal judiciary is “lawless” and that marriage equality is a “brazen disregard for the Constitution” — in short if you are unhappy with being on the losing side of the democratic system — then maybe totalitarianism is what you really want.

In that sense, Lively is at least honest. In a recent interview, he said that “nothing short of revolution” can stop the advance of LGBT progress, and that conservatives need to be prepared to “give up our lives if necessary.” Those are not the words of a man committed to the democratic process.

All of this is just another sign that the antigay right is stuck with a lost cause. In their hearts, they know that the only way they succeed is if an authoritarian is calling all the shots. That’s why they’re so enamored of Putin. And that’s why they are so dangerous. It’s one thing to try to keep fighting within the system. It’s entirely another to think that a corrupt, oppressive system is the one to emulate, especially when that system is Russia’s.

During the Cold War, that belief would have been called un-American. We’ll leave it to others to decide whether it still is.

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  • Kieran

    Yeah, because being gay in the Ukraine is so much better than being gay in Russia. LOL

    Let’s not forget it was Putin who helped stop the US war-mongerers from bombing the sovereign nation of Syria a few months back. That absolutely infuriated the neo-cons. Come to think of it, maybe that’s the reason Putin has suddenly been painted as “the new Hitler” here in America.

  • Billy Budd

    Powerful nations like the USA are nasty to weaker nations. USA also invaded, attacked, supported dictatorships, sold weapons to, and harmed many other nations. Nobody is innocent in this game. I think we should focus on gay issues specifically, not on foreign politics and wars. This kind of analysis may become hypocritical.

  • Sam Jupiter

    Ok, this is some bullshit journalism. Even for Queerty.

    First of all – people of Crimea had a referendum and 90% of them voted to join Russia. It’s their constitutional right to do so. Ukraine has been plagued with socio-economic issues since it left USSR, so this “annexation” might come as a surprise only to those who learned about Ukraine last month. In reality – talks about splitting Ukraine have been circulating for years. Not the point, though.

    Homophobia comes from people, not politicians. Russians, being very religious (unlike a certain other country I can think of), are very homophobic by nature. Several recent laws passed in Russia are targeted specifically towards protection of religious people and their beliefs and the law you talk about was a logical next step. This law doesn’t really do anything. Homophobia was there long before it.

    So in other words – Putin is bad, but not for the reasons you’re framing him here.

  • Stache99

    @Sam Jupiter: I wonder how democratic their referendum was though. No Bipartisan politics in that area at all. Vote how I want or it’s the firing squad for you.

    Yeah, it’s practically a foregone conclusion that these corrupt politicians will take advantage of that hate.

  • Tookietookie123

    @Kieran: In case you didn’t pay attention in world history class, his actions are parallel to Hitler, that is why people are comparing the two.

    @Sam Jupiter: it’s their constitutional right? It actually isn’t, it is their human right, but not constitutional. Their constitution states that Russia, US, or UK cannot use force or intimidation against the Ukraine, which Russia flat out disobeyed. Maybe if Crimea decided to become an independent state on it’s own terms the story would be different, but since Russia broke international law, there will be repercussions.

  • manjoguy

    @Kieran: Even Hillary had to step back from her comparison of Putin to Hitler.

  • manjoguy

    No, Queerty, the conservatives were not “totally wrong” at least with respect to the Russian menace. Romney warned us that Russia was not to be ignored and of course in Obama’s naive foreign policy thinking, the “cold war is over, behind us.” Oh, really?

  • Ben Dover

    You’re on to something IMO but please be more careful about technical political terms. There’s a difference between totalitarianism and authoritarianism, or even dictatorship. Russia certainly has a pretty screwed-up and repressive government, but it hasn’t been totalitarian since Stalin died.

    There is only one government on earth today – North Korea – that qualifies as totalitarian.

    “Totalitarianism” is a word that Republicans throw around (incorrectly) when they’re trying to look serious!

  • Bustinmynut

    Russia is an old old country with old religious beleifs. I am not saying that being wreckless toward any human being is OK I am just saying that they have years to grow to catch up with us. Putin him self is probably gay …that is all irrelevant. Just because Obama jumped on the one thing he could actually easily do support gay marriage since he has not done one other thing he said he would do… we were just the flavor of the month and it was something that was going to happen anyway….the gay evolution shall we say. Moreover is the USA setting up coup’s in distant places where we have NO BUSINESS being in the first place. Where there is fossil fuels there is the USA. Follow the trail. A fuel that will very soon be obsolete. We just allowed BP to drill once again in the gulf are you kidding me? I am ashamed to be an American. Putin did save us from war with Syria, yet another place where thouysands of innocent civilians are killed because of us not minding our own business. If leaders don’t do what we say we create a coup and try to lie and everything else to take them down. WE have ENOUGH of our own issues at home…we are a WAR MONGER piece of shit killing machine do your homework! I mean besides watching the government controlled media in the USA

  • inbama

    @Bustinmynut: Putin persecutes our brothers, murders journalists, sends women to prison for singing, and yet you not only make excuses for this monster but claim we are worse.
    Queerty, you are spot on with this article.

  • Sam Jupiter

    @Stache99, you have the sides mixed up. Most of Ukraine people, despite their centuries long association with Russia, are very russophobic. In fact – the very first law new Ukrainian government passed was to ban Russian language in the country. Ukraine is basically divided into pro and anti-Russia regions (Crimea is one of the pro-Russian regions). When “Euromaidan” happened (during Winter Olympics) – Crimea said right away that they will not support the “government of thugs” (which their current government literally is). So the new “government of thugs” sent the ARMY (!) to fight disobeying region (basically kill their own people). That’s when Russia stepped in and in reality this is what they are being punished for now – trying to do what every other country should have done. 90% of people in Crimea supporting this merge with Russia – does that still sounds surprising?

    @Tookietookie123, it is their constitutional right and Crimea did decide to merge with Russia BEFORE Russia sent their troops to protect them.

    @inbama, Putin does not persecutes gays for being gays. Situation with homophobia is bad in Russia, but because of the strong Christianity, not Putin. And Pussy Riot is a scum of the earth – you should see some of their “art projects” aside from the one they were sent to prison for (like having an orgy in a public gallery while one of the girls was 8 months pregnant).

  • Stevenw

    Sam Jupiter, you are wrong.

    The interim Ukraine Gov. did not send any army into the Crimea. There were naturally Ukrainian army bases that were already there, because it was a part of the Ukraine – Russia is still besieging these even as we speak.

    And Crimea said nothing about splitting from the Ukraine until it had already been invaded. The very day after Yanukovych (the pro-russian leader) was forced out of power, Russia invaded the Crimea.

    Though Russia is still claiming their forces aren’t there at all.

    Such flagrant lying is almost bafflingly transparent – the pro-russian people of the Crimea – from absolutely nowhere – suddenly summoned a huge force of fully armed and uniformed (yet unmarked) soldiers and even several APCs? The very next day? With no apparent effort or organisation? And who no Crimean national could seemingly claim any relation to? Farcical.

    Shows just how much contempt Putin holds the rest of the world, that he expects us to swallow this garbage.

    Of course this Crimean referendum is horse-manure – how can it be otherwise, when there are foreign troops conducting a tacit invasion right there and then? There may be a strong pro-russian population in the Crimea, but that is because everyone considered ‘non-russian’ was deported or purged during Stalinist times. Some of those peoples have returned (the Tartars etc) but their voices are noticeably absent from this so-called referendum.

    This isn’t a bad timeline:

  • Horse Lips

    Conservatives should be used to being wrong by now.

  • inbama

    @Sam Jupiter:
    You must be KGB.
    Pussy Riot did not belong in prison for expressing themselves you evil scum.

  • DK

    @Sam Jupiter: Putin signed anti-gay statutes into law, not “the people”. It’s amazing the defenses conservatives come up with to defend homophobic political figures, even foreign ones.

    There is no depth to which Republicans will not sink to undermine the President, including defending homophobic, Hitler-esque tyrants like Putin. Disgusting.

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