A few days ago I wrote about a New York Times story about Hitler and the 1936 Olympics.  The Times story noted that Hitler promised the International Olympic Committee that he’d remove anti-Semitic signs from around Berlin during the Olympic Games, and in response the IOC called Americans seeking a boycott of the Berlin Games “liars.”

We all know how that one turned out.

I posted the 1935 NYT story because the International Olympic Committee has been negotiating with the Russian government in an attempt to get the Russians to exempt the Olympics from Russia’s draconian new anti-gay/anti-trans “propaganda” law.  (The Russians have made clear, repeatedly, that Olympic athletes, guests and media will be arrested if they violate the incredibly-vague anti-civil-rights law.)

Of course, I wasn’t the only one to bring up Nazi Germany.  A number of gay Jewish writers, activist and celebrities have raised the same concerns, including actors Stephen Fry (who had family members killed in Hungary during the Holocaust) and Harvey Fierstein, Guardian writer Nancy Goldstein, and Queer Nation’s Alan Klein.

Gays in Nazi Germany were considered a threat to German purity. The Nazis arrested 100,000 men, with 10,000 to 15,000 sent to concentration camps to die.

Gays in Nazi Germany were considered a threat to German purity. It is estimated that the Nazis arrested 100,000 men, with 10,000 to 15,000 sent to concentration camps to die.

I was waiting for the Holocaust-phobes, as I call them, to weigh in, and they have.  By my definition, a Holocaust-phobe is someone who is deathly afraid of ever invoking the Holocaust, lest we risk diminishing the memory of the millions who died at the hands of Hitler, and lest we, at the same time, risk exaggerating the extent of whatever injustice we’re advocating for at the moment.

A lot of Holocaust comparisons – most in fact – are inappropriate. Comparing health care reform to the Holocaust, comes to mind.

But not ever comparison can, or should, be deemed inappropriate, lest we diminish the historical lesson of the Holocaust itself, in my opinion.

I expand on this in my response on Facebook:


I’m really troubled by your Holocaust analogies. What the Russians are doing is wrong, and should be resolutely challenged. But, bad as it is, I do not think this is the first step in an effort to round up all the Gay people in the world, put them in slave labor camps, and then try to exterminate each and every one of them.


Really, Jack? I do. How do you think the Holocaust started – it didn’t start with the murder of 6 million Jews (and gays, and people with disabilities, and others). It started with the Nuremberg laws, it started with Kristallnacht (a few years later). It started with laws making Jews lesser citizens. It started with burning their books, and firing them from their jobs. And slowly whittling away their rights while the world shrugged, and was appeased, because Hitler took down some mean signs for two weeks in 1936.

We’ve already heard the lead news anchor on Putin’s TV network invoke the genetic inferiority of gays. We’ve seen the Russian authorities empower, and then ignore, neo-Nazis thugs who have been kidnapping gay teens for a good long while now – and the Russians did nothing until all of us reported on it two weeks ago. We’re seeing high-profile gays fired from their jobs for the simple act of coming out. We’re seeing top sports officials in the country compare gays to Nazis. The subhuman demonization has already reached a fever pitch.

So, no, this isn’t the Holocaust. That comes last, not first.

I have a personal pet peeve with Holocaust-phobes: People who are deadly afraid of comparing anything to the Holocaust. Because if nothing compares to the Holocaust, if nothing can EVER compare to the Holocaust, if no one will EVER try to do something like the Holocaust again, if it’s not credible that any government anywhere could even BEGIN on the path of a potential Holocaust, then the Holocaust was a historical anomaly that we should remember, because it was a huge, and horrible, event in history, but the event itself would contain no lessons for history because it would be, under that (incorrect) theory, an anomaly.

And I don’t think the Holocaust was an anomaly.

I don’t think the Holocaust happened simply because Germans, as a people, are a bit f’d up.

I think the Holocaust happened because man, inherently, innately, has the potential for evil. And sadly, when that evil is unchecked, it, like nature, abhors a vacuum – in this case, a vacuum of moral indignation – and proceeds to fill it.

Per se no one will ever know in advance if any government, or any series of events, might lead to another Holocaust, since you have to actually HAVE the Holocaust in order to be able to look back and utter a historical “oops.” And rather than risk another oops, I’d rather stay vigilant.

I dug up a quick history of the less-than-extermination things the Nazis did to Jews in the early 1930s. One could have argued that those things too did not yet constitute a Holocaust.  And one would have been – and much of the world was, in fact – terribly wrong about that conclusion.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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97 Responses to “Holocaust-phobes”

  1. Hinageshi says:

    • In October 2012, Bourges & Boutin (see my previous post) came in the US to visit the FRC (and get some lessons on propaganda?):


    • Conversely Brian Brown (NOM) supported the March 26th anti-gay protest in Paris (“Manif pour tous”, from which the “Printemps français” is a dissident branch):


    • As for the reunion at the pro-Putin org, here’s the direct link (in French) where Bourges mentions Regnerus:


    • Another matter of concern, at the very same meeting, Italian member of the Council of Europe (and former president of the powerful EPP) Luca Volontè hold a conference in which he says such things as “It is obvious that those who demand & obtain gay marriage will further ask for adoption, assisted reproductive technology, and the lowering of sexual majority in order to allow pedophilia, polygamy, and an educational system that will lead to the emergence of new generations of homosexuals.”


  2. Hinageshi says:

    Actually, what launched it in France is rather the following article on the “Alliance Vita” site :


    It has been cited & copied from there on a huge number of french sites.
    (AV is a “pro-life” org founded by Christine Boutin, former president of the Christian-Democrat Party; Boutin has also served as a “Pontifical Consultor for the Affairs on Family”).

    As for the ultra-catholic Béatrice Bourges, the name of her movement (Printemps Français = French Spring) is a transparent allusion to the expression “Arab Spring”, where theocratic muslim forces took over in the recent years in various countries.

  3. Chie Reya says:

    I think it is unreasonable to punish people just because they prefer to be themselves.

    Atlanta Pools

  4. karmanot says:

    The truth hurts and I’m glad to be the messenger.

  5. Houndentenor says:

    It wasn’t my intention to compare the severity of the issues. My point was that we sat by and did nothing during the genocides in Rwanda and Darfur. Will it get to that point in russia. I don’t know. But listen to what Russians are saying in interviews. This is a bad situation. Perhaps not as bad as genocide but bad nonetheless. And this doesn’t just apply to Russia but other places with human rights abuses.

  6. JohnB says:

    Your comments are very obnoxious.

  7. JohnB says:

    To compare Rwanda and Darfur to police brutality in Russia is extremely disingenuous and dangerous. Yes, both are violations of human rights. No, discriminating against gays/LGBT, even through use of violence in the context of public context, is NOT the same as exterminating a people systematically in death camps.

  8. JohnB says:

    Those images absolutely show violence. And there has been atrocity after WWII.

    But are the images you share equivalent to ethnic cleaning in Rwanda, Dafur, Kosovo? Nope, and to suggest such a jump is offensive and dangerous.

    Get some perspective BeccaM!

  9. BeccaM says:

    I’m glad you’re doing so, too. I’m disgusted by the patronizing, scornful tone directed at us — both LGBTs and women like myself — when we feel strongly about something. As if having strong convictions is to be hysterical, overly emotional, and irrational.

    It needs to be refuted.

  10. BeccaM says:

    Fortunately, they always manage to undercut their own positions through their commenting behavior.

  11. BeccaM says:

    Yeah… about that: Normally I like Chris’s show, but on this issue he’s been waaaaay off the mark. It’s like he thinks, “oh those wacky gay people!”

  12. karmanot says:

    Reminds me of Chris Hayes

  13. karmanot says:

    Thank you MF. I couldn’t agree more!

  14. karmanot says:

    You are being too kind and just when I thought I was settling into a more gentler mode a vile grayzip troll appears and I descend to the happy realm of ad hominem . Some of us just have to do that work. It’s karma. :-)

  15. karmanot says:

    “Sigh.” That was the music often heard from the Warship Ghetto you contemptible troll.

  16. karmanot says:

    “Progressives and gay people both have a streak of drama-queen running through their cultures…..” Behind the pretty words is what I assumed—an @sshole troll.

  17. karmanot says:

    What your rather eloquent rationalization reminds of is a word: Collaboration.

  18. karmanot says:

    Recent slight of hand with Savage and Harvey. The condescending joking with Maddow over the passion of the former was insulting and degrading. Even media clowns go bad John and ignorance is no excuse. Hayes is hauling water for a major IOC sponsor and is no friend of ours.

  19. Monoceros Forth says:

    Does it feel fearless and clear-eyed and righteous to believe the hard truth lesser souls can’t/won’t/whatever face? Well that heady rush comes at a cost.
    Good fucking Lord. What is the matter with you? So we’re just all getting high off all this horrible news–is that your accusation? Go fuck yourself.

  20. EdA says:

    Dear Grayzip,

    I did read and appreciate your response. However, while certainly it is possible for people to go “over the top” as a regular way of approaching things, the reality is that Putin’s government is in fact and in practice serious about conducting pogroms, that Russia has a long history of labor camps and suppression of minority groups, and that Putin did not get to where he is — or where he has been — by being a model of sweetness and light.

    Sometimes, you really do have to believe that when people in power state, repeatedly, that they plan to act in sociopathic/psychopathic ways, they are serious — especially if they have a track record.

    Please keep in mind, also, that outside Russia, there are a number of people who bear us ill will and will be supportive of physical suppression and murder. Just think of the American Christianist scum who have been the impetus for Uganda’s “Kill the gays!” legislation.

  21. Indigo says:

    I don’t see what “our side” could possibly mean to you. You could easily be one of those self-identified alpha-gays who refused to support Harvey Milk, for example, but they were not on the side of an affirmative, open movement among the gay community. Your approach would shut down the most serious resistance anti-gay activists are making. We’re not going to sit by and empower the kind of destructive energy Russia is currently generating. You’re the one who should be smarter than that. Whose side are you on?

  22. Yes, definitely a miscommunication here ;-) Think I have your email..

  23. Bill_Perdue says:

    his is a big development.

    Lively, Obama BBFs McClurkin and Warren and an army of mad dog American bigots are working to promote violence against our brothers and sisters around the world and they’re already responsible for murders in Africa and France. (The murderers in Russia are home grown Stalinists and cultists who don’t need any help from their American supporters.)

    Legal battles to pin crimes against humanity on them will give us an opening to drain their finances in the same way that SPLC lawsuits for compensation for similar crimes bankrupted the KKK.

    From Wiki “In 1984, Dees became an assassination target of The Order, a revolutionary white supremacist group…. In 1987, SPLC won a case against the United Klans of America for the lynching of Michael Donald, a black teenager in Mobile, Alabama. The SPLC used an unprecedented legal strategy of holding an organization responsible for the crimes of individual members to help produce a $7 million judgment for the victim’s mother. The verdict forced United Klans of America into bankruptcy. Its national headquarters was sold for approximately $52,000 to help satisfy the judgment. …In October 1990, the SPLC won $12.5 million in damages against Tom Metzger and his White Aryan Resistance when a Portland, Oregon, jury held the neo-Nazi group liable in the beating death of an Ethiopian immigrant.”

  24. FLL says:

    I think you’re on target about grayzip, but it’s just as well that people refute some of the untenable arguments that are going come our way from critics who want to say, “You’re being melodramatic and paranoid, and you’re just imagining all of this.”

  25. BeccaM says:

    In other arenas, there is some hope:

    A federal judge on Wednesday denied a motion to dismiss a crimes against humanity case brought against evangelical pastor Scott Lively of Massachusetts.

    Lively is accused of violating international law by inciting the persecution of LGBT individuals in Uganda. The lawsuit was filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) on behalf of Sexual Minorities of Uganda (SMUG) in 2012.
    The lawsuit alleged that Lively aided the persecution of LGBT people in Uganda over the past decade and inspired notorious anti-LGBT legislation known as the “Kill the Gays” bill.


  26. FLL says:

    Let me go over some of the weaknesses in this particular comment of yours.

    “Because it’s the same direction, yes, I guess, if you like, but *why* do
    you like? Does it feel fearless and clear-eyed and righteous to
    believe the hard truth lesser souls can’t/won’t/whatever face? Well
    that heady rush comes at a cost.

    In this part of your comment, you’re telling us that our motivation for asking the world to be vigilant is vanity on our part; you claim that we’re only posing in order to feel important. That’s a pretty shallow analysis; it’s rather personal, and it doesn’t address the substance of events in Russia. Sorry, but you get a low score. Let’s go further.

    “Because holocausts are miles down that road, light years really.”

    Now >you’re the one who’s attempting to foretell the future. Please don’t. We have no idea how far or how fast developments could happen.

    “There actually IS no cliff that drops onto a mass-extermination, not in the modern era with the world watching”

    Everyone considers the 1990s to be “the modern world.” This part of your argument is completely disproved by the genocide that occurred in Bosnia during the Yugoslav Civil War of the 1990s. Why don’t you just stop at this point and think through all of your idea again. The more you add to your argument, the weaker it gets.

  27. BeccaM says:

    Nor do I. Unfortunately, I see a whole lot of concern-trolling in grayzip’s posts, and seeing as how this person was never here before a few days ago, possibly more just ‘trolling’ than ‘concern’.

    A pattern of prior posts viewed seemed to be of someone who likes to stir up arguments for the sake of such.

  28. FLL says:

    Exactly. As I said in my reply to grayzip above, no one is claiming to predict the future. People are just being watchful. Under the circumstances, I don’t see anything wrong with that.

  29. FLL says:

    “Progressives and gay people both have a streak of drama-queen running through their cultures”

    Very few reasonable people would be tempted to read the rest of your comment after an insulting, and under the circumstances dangerous, beginning like that. Really, with what is happening in Russia today, what a piss poor way to start your argument.

  30. FLL says:

    Reading John’s posts, I don’t see where he’s attempting to predict the future. You’re assuming that he is. I think he’s being reasonably watchful simply because the law that Russia passed bears such a striking similarity to the 1935 Nuremburg laws. If you insist on comparing the two eras, we are only at the stage Germany was at in 1935, but that deserves close scrutiny, don’t you think?

  31. BeccaM says:

    I don’t “like.”

    I pay attention.

    There’s a difference. And I hope you’re willing to eat those words if, as some Russian legislators have proposed, they start taking away the children of gay and lesbian parents there.

  32. FLL says:

    I hope nothing like this comes to pass, but at least some Russian legislators are discussing what most civilized people would consider the unthinkable: having the state kidnap children and take them away from their biological or adoptive parents based on the real or perceived sexuality of those parents—that is to say, doing this as part of a large-scale organized campaign. As I say, I hope nothing comes of that, but here we are talking about much more than “discriminating against a minority.” A campaign like what I just described would be one of the building blocks of a holocaust, and there’s no use pretending that it’s just discrimination.

  33. BeccaM says:

    I’ve heard of it. And I know that the far right anti-gay wingnuts are citing it repeatedly.

  34. BeccaM says:

    That’s a rhetorical ‘trick’ known as attacking the messenger. I Googled to find photos of the protestors in Russia being attacked and that’s what came up.

    How about addressing the substance of the situation, rather than what you feel is an unreliable source? In none of your poo-pooing posts have you acknowledged what any of us have been saying, that for LGBTs in Russia, this smells like it did for Jews in Germany in 1933.

    Instead, you stoop to calling us irrational drama queens. I think you seriously need to think about what you’re saying.

  35. mirror says:

    Furthermore, these are just the videos and pictures where the criminals are publishing there own activities. Assume this kind of violence is more widespread in all areas of the country and equally ignored by authorities.

  36. Bill_Perdue says:

    A holocaust against muslims sponsored by Croatian and fascist Serbs occurred in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1992-1995 and while the whole world watched, including NATO troops who did nothing to prevent it, 200,000 muslims were murdered in cold blood.

    Which is not to say that those events can be duplicated by the Putinistas and cults in the RF. That depends on our brothers and sisters in the RF and their allies worldwide. They don’t underestimate the possibility of wider violence and that’s why their plans for demonstrations at Sochi are sure signs of the courage and their political sophistication. The understand conditions in their country and the possibilities for international alliance building much, much better than we do. http://www.gayrussia.eu/

    Boycott and divest.

  37. Bill_Perdue says:

    The Nazi holocaust, part of a war fought for the division of the world between competing mad dog capitalist alliances produced 26.6 million Russian victims, up to 5,894,716 million Jewish victims, 5,820,000 Polish victims and 9 million German victims. Over all that war war killed 85 million including deaths from war-related disease and famine. (Wiki)

    The holocaust and the wider war is one of the key testaments to the absolute unsustainability of capitalism and that’s as true in Russia as it was and is in the US.

    The unbridled gangster capitalism of the Putin regime, like that of Clinton (1), the Bushes and Obama pushed an anti-gay agenda when they thought they were politically threatened. Clinton did it in spite of the fact that he led in the polls during the who pre-election period, confirming his status as a bigot and that he was afraid of a backlash because of NAFTA. The same was true of Bush2, who continued pushing state DOMAs fearing an anti war backlash and by Obama who promoted the passage of Prop 8 to pander the the bigot vote. (2) http://www.salon.com/2008/08/17/saddleback_2/

    We survived HIV, the Clintons, the Bushes and Obama with our courage, our independence of their right wing politics and their right wing parties in a series of mass demonstration including the 2009 mass march in DC which terrified Obama and Congressional Democrats and forced them to finish Congressional action on the Hate Crimes law and get it passed. Since then our increasing militancy and courage have switched the number on marriage equality causing any number of Democrats and even a few Republicans to rebrand so as not to appear to be bigots.

    Our sisters and brothers in Russia face challenges as great as ours and a government just as repressive and backward. They have allies here, in the EU and elsewhere who’ll back them up the the main battle but the bulk of the effort will have to come from them and the growing trade union and political left, along with women, national minorities and youth, just as it does here. (3) Their plans to confront the Putinistas at Sochi show they have all the courage needed to win.http://www.gayrussia.eu/ And they have the tremendous historical advantage of living in the nation that gave us the first workers state in 1917. The memory of that revolution is not lost on the current generation. (3)

    (1) http://aravosis.wpengine.com/2007/06/bill-clinton-reportedly-told-john-kerry-to-throw-gays-under-the-bus-during-2004-election-what-is-he-telling-hillary-and-is-she-listening.html

    (2)“One of the candidates for president strolled onto the stage at a massive megachurch in suburban Orange County Saturday night and started joking easily with the Rev. Rick Warren, maybe the most popular evangelical leader in America — but just plain “Pastor Rick” to the candidate. He talked about his certainty that “Jesus Christ died for my sins, and I am redeemed through him,” said Americans should be soldiers in the fight against evil, and defined marriage as between a man and a woman — “and God is in the mix.” This particular Christian candidate was so on his game that after a segment on domestic policy ended, Warren told him — his mic still live as the TV feed cut to commercial — “Home run.”

    (3) http://links.org.au/node/3280

  38. grayzip says:

    If that argument goes mainstream it will do more harm to our side than good.

    Because it’s the same direction, yes, I guess, if you like, but *why* do you like? Does it feel fearless and clear-eyed and righteous to believe the hard truth lesser souls can’t/won’t/whatever face? Well that heady rush comes at a cost.

    Because holocausts are miles down that road, light years really. There actually IS no cliff that drops onto a mass-extermination, not in the modern era with the world watching for a nation that aspires to have any role on the global stage, never mind its own sophistication when push comes to shove-them-all-into-a-gas-chamber. (Brief pause for everyone inclined to get their obligatory Rawanda reference out.) [There exist some slight differences between Rawanda and Russia.]

    And the risk in putting the situation in Russia on these Holocaust-y terms is this:

    People whom we need to convince in order to effect change will tune us out. It’s too easy to make the case that Russia is NOT now like the Holocaust and won’t become one either. And just like that we’ve lost the argument, failed to change minds, all over an inapt allusion we trotted out because it made us fee brave.

    No thank you one and all, and you should be smarter than that too.

  39. grayzip says:

    Nobody is doing what you just did, got it. The other problem with all this Holocaust stuff is when you start the debate there no one has any headroom when they want to go over the top. Sigh.

  40. grayzip says:

    Buzzfeed is doing just fine without me, but thank you.

  41. emjayay says:

    Speaking of photos, not to throw fuel on the fire or anything…..

  42. Anonymous says:

    I didn’t want to get into the ugliness, but here are some photos (proof) of the bullying these Russian kids are getting. They are hard to look at, but not gory, thankfully.

    Ironically, one of the skinheads pressures a kid to give him a BJ. Pretty freaking big indicator of a closet case. Pathetic!

  43. emjayay says:

    The whole discussion here is great and I for one appreciate everyone’s thoughts. Including grayzip, who I think made some valid and interesting points. It’s nice that commenters can be thoughtful and respectful of other’s intelligently stated opinions and thoughts about some issue and discuss various aspects and sides with (ahem) no name calling or any of that kind of stuff.
    A couple of random semi-thoughts:

    The comment about Russians blaming outside influence for gay stuff: this kind of thing always immediately reminds me of the 60’s, because I was there. Viet Nam war protests were continually blamed on “outside agitators”. Of course our fine offsprings couldn’t have come to those conclusions on their own, it must have been Communists or something from somewhere poisoning their suseptible young minds.

    I am also reminded of any comparisons of what Bush II was up to with any kind of totalitarianism. Was he a Fascist or something? Better to not call him that, but the centralization of power – the Unitary Executive theory, the signing statements (Nice bill, Congress. Not going to enforce it or anything, in fact just the opposite, ha ha.), the bypassing of vetted intelligence in favor of hearing whatever you want to hear, claiming it as fact, and proclaiming the Big Lies over and over to the public, the stage managed imitation events with jet fighters and banners and aircraft carriers, the paying off columnists and producing fake video news bits, hiring unqualified idealogues for justice positions, etc. (I just keep thinking of more off the top of my head). Well, those are the tried and true methods used by Hitler and any other Fascist or totaltarian guy like that in history. It’s not often mentioned but Hitler’s people were really good at using all the latest technology and advertising techniques and graphics and stage managed events etc. to influence and inflame the public. There was a lot more to it than just some guy standing up there ranting and raving.

    The wierd part is that teahadists are more than happy to call Obama a dictator all the time. Really?

  44. BeccaM says:

    You’re most kind.

  45. Peter says:

    One should remember that Jews were only 1/3 of the total killed in what if not called the Holocaust is called the Demiclaust. It is troubling that we can’t remember, other than a few groups the majority of innocent people killed by the axis powers during world war II. And the accepted number of Jewish deaths is 5.7 million (from a range of 3 to 9 million) of some 18 million (from 9 million to 29 million) civilians caught up and executed in the events. No the numbers do not include soldiers. It was a much more evangelical event than we selectively recall.

    So yes the Russian crack down is not nice. But what of our hand and what we let pass in the name of our personal security.


  46. emjayay says:

    Well, that’s a lot of sturm und drang (lots more below) about a study I never heard of despite all my leftish and gay blog reading. I’m sure it’s justified, but there doesn’t seem to be any references to what the hell it is.

    So – something from GLAAD with a lot about it and the guy with the creepy goatee:


    And an early NYT article, referenced in the GLAAD report:


  47. john says:

    chris hayes is a homophobe? evidence please…

  48. Naja pallida says:

    Let’s come down to Earth for a moment. Dan Savage had a good point tonight on MSNBC, when he said nobody is comparing this to what happened to the Jews in 1943. Nobody is trying to say the Gay Holocaust is going on in Russia. What we’re trying to warn about is that these things are what was happening to Jews in 1933, long before it resulted in state-sanctioned extermination. We’re on the edge of a cliff, something bad which could lead to something much worse. People now have the choice of whether to recognize the parallels from history and speak out about it before it gets any worse, or ignore it and just hope the situation magically improves out of the sheer goodness of the human soul.

  49. BeccaM says:

    It was once commonly said that the ‘Great War’ (sic) was the “War to End All Wars.” That we’d learned our lessons in the horrors of trench warfare, with the use of chemical weapons and machines of death never before used on the field of battle.

    In the aftermath of World War II, it was said we’d never have wars like that again, that we’d learned our lesson, and nations would never engage in genocide nor be permitted to do so. The world would rise up and stop them — we even made an organization that was supposed to take care of this. “Never again” became a mantra.

    Yet is has happened again. Everything we’ve said wouldn’t happen again, has. Rwanda. Dafur. Kosovo. Bloody ‘ethnic cleansing’ in country after country in civil war. Chemical weapons deployed and used in Syria and Iraq. First world nations — including America — using cluster bombs and depleted uranium rounds.

    You think Russia is better than this? I recommend you check out these collections of photos from Buzzfeed, from LGBT protests gone violent.


  50. BeccaM says:

    Like I said, the list is endless.

  51. grayzip says:

    Nothing is nor should be off limits, but here are two notions:

    Progressives and gay people both have a streak of drama-queen running through their cultures; put the two together and you can get sometimes get to histrionics and camp (given the nature of this thread I suppose I should specify I don’t mean *that* kind of camp.) No one is hurting anybody I suppose and I enjoy slapping someone with my gloves and storming out as much as the next gay, but people tend to take theatrics (and Holocaust hyperbole) less seriously than they do more reasoned debate, so it’s just something to keep in mind when deciding how big to go. I personally would limit my Holocaust allusions to situations where I believe that a government is going to march as many of a given group into gas chambers as they can manage; that’s just me. But I think it bears mention that many replies to my post take the position that I’m blind if I can’t see what’s going on with gays in Russia — I don’t buy the Holocaust comparison so therefore apparently I think all is great for gays everywhere. It’s not nuanced thinking, and leads to eye rolls, and that is my only little point FWIW

    Changing the subject a bit, I don’t think any modern Western or Westernized nation has another Holocaust in them, or Hiroshima/Nagasaki for that matter. I think that was a moment in time when advances in killing-scores-of-people-at-once got WAY ahead of our wisdom, and old, small-scale tribal bigotries were addressed with frighteningly efficient brand-new technological responses. It excuses nothing. I just think we all now know better than THAT, including the Russians. (But again, there is a lot of room for awful short of that extreme which I both understand and am against just to be clear-clear.) Emerging and hardcore-Muslim countries are another story, one I don’t pretend to understand.

  52. BeccaM says:

    Many of us here disagree with you because the assertion isn’t that Russia is conducting a ‘Holocaust-like’ genocide against gays.

    Our contention is “Not yet, but that is the indisputable direction they are going, if history is any indication.”

  53. StraightGrandmother says:

    Actually in my world wide tracking of Regnerus almost ALL of the anti gay propaganda is American based. Family Research council is big and another big one is catholic websites. Not Catholic Church websites per se but Catholic websites. They put out a TON of ant gay propaganda and virtually 100% of it is American based.

    Oh the Mormons not to be out done by the Catholics they put an anti gay article explaining the Regnerus research in all their websites world wide. In a ton of languages and this is the official Mormon Church website.

    When Regnerus first came out it was promulgated world wide by catholic websites. I mean like over night, they passed it around like a communal communion cup. There was a lot of action in Portuguese in South America, but then that kind of died down.

    You know that Regnerus also gave an hour long interview to Jim Garlow, right? PASTOR Jim Garlow who has that mega church in San Diego, it was Garlow who gathered up all those Pastors into a gay hating fighting machine to defeat Prop 8. Garlow has missions in Africa.

    Oh my God I listened to an hour long anti gay sermon from a Preacher in Singapore, who had just gotten back from meeting with Garlow. I think it was in July this Singapore Pastor had a big Anti Gay revival meeting where he had invited all the Pastors of Singapore to attend, I think if I remember right the attendance was 4,000. Guess who was the featured speaker in Singapore? Jim Garlow. Now Regnerus gave that interview after Garlow got back from Singapore but you just KNOW he shared with everyone there ,the important research out of Texas. It is world wide and Regnerus is helping, he is.

    Here is the Regnerus and Garlow Interview

    Basically Regnerus won! He did! The American Sociological Association will NOT open an investigation into the publishing of that research. 2 out of 3 Peer Reviewers were Paid Consultants, but “Oh who us? No we don’t want to investigate for ethics violations. We don’t want to rock the boat in our association. We did an Amicus Brief, that is enough.” It’s NOT ENOUGH, it has to be retracted.

  54. Houndentenor says:

    Hopefully you are wrong, but there’s no reason to wait until it gets that far to stop a human rights abuse. These horrific laws in Russia, Uganda and elsewhere need to be protested by everyone in the world. Even more disgusting, there are American leaders on the right applauding these laws. Disgusting.

  55. Monoceros Forth says:

    I cannot agree that comparisons of events in Russia with the Nazi genocides are wholly overblown. There’s more than just garden-variety discrimination at work. The rapid escalation of the persecution, with more and more draconian legislation newly proposed on an almost weekly basis, is one symptom of a deeper sickness. There’s the nature of the violence to be considered and its disturbingly organized character, with its activities given tacit official sanction, rather too similar to the activities of the SA. Most telling, however, is how the campaign against the supposedly poisonous influence of evil homosexuality is being tied to a more general nationalistic and xenophobic reaction. The actions of GLBT protestors in Russia are openly attributed to paid foreign influence. This, to me, is the most suggestive indication that the persecution of GLBT citizens in Russia is the vanguard of a more general and powerful assault on purportedly subversive elements in Russian society. Mark my words, this is not going to stop with attacks on GLBT persons, just as the assault on “Jewry” in Nazi Germany was part of a more general eruption of German nationalism and hatred that came to sweep up many peoples and many cultures in its murderous tide.

    In any case, events in Russia are similar enough to events in ’30s Germany to merit discussion of and comparison to the historical events leading up to the Holocaust. So what if events in Russia stop short (as I hope they do) of an outright purge and proscription of GLBT (and other) men and women? The Holocaust and the historical developments leading up to it are still just as valid a subject for inquiry and analogy to current events as any other historical period. That ultimately is Mr. Aravosis’s point: the Holocaust should not be off-limits to analysis or treated as uniquely special and incomparable to the doings of today.

  56. Houndentenor says:

    Rwanda. Darfur. I’m leaving out many. How long will it take before the world says “enough.” And yet each time we sit back and allow it. Is there any hope for our species if we can’t even denounce mass murder and intervene to stop it? This shouldn’t be that hard. It’s the 21st century. Universal human rights should have been achieved decades ago.

  57. EdA says:

    How many gay men and women need to be murdered with legal sanction, Grayzip, before you’re willing to concede that the Russian government actually DOES intend to conduct pogroms against gay men and women?

  58. StraightGrandmother says:

    Well that is encouraging John, thank you.
    France has a law against fertility assistance sperm donors/surrogacy for gay couples, if Poland does not have that law they could try and put it in. I am grateful to know that the EU forces countries to allow Pride parades, I didn’t know that.

  59. John says:

    As long as Poland remains in the EU it cannot move in Russia’s direction. Courts have consistently upheld the right to pride parades. Things get any better in the short time? Probably not. Worse? Probably not.

  60. Drew2u says:

    You mean how current anti-gay evangelicals are twisting and distorting studies for the same effect?

  61. FLL says:

    There are restrictions on athletes’ uniforms, and the IOC may try to restrict pro-gay flags, badges and pins worn by athletes, although there is the possibility of pins and badges worn by spectators. A way has been found around the restrictions for athletes. The LGBT sports organization, Pride House, has announced a same-sex hand-holding initiative for all Olympic participants, regardless of sexual orientation: athletes, coaches, spectators, staff and media:


    It would be ironic if this initiative outlived the Sochi Olympics and migrated to high schools, colleges and the public sphere in general, and in doing so, broke down resistance to same-sex public displays of affection. Sporting events would be a logical place to start since raising your opponent’s hand in camaraderie is very common at sporting events.

  62. Anonymous says:

    Gay people are already facing more than being jailed. There are laws being pushed to publicly whip gays, and to remove children from gay couples’ homes. I see people getting angrier when gayness does not just disappear.

  63. karmanot says:

    Rachel Maddow remains silent, makes jokes with homophobe Chris Hayes in defense of MSNBC and the IOC.

  64. StraightGrandmother says:

    Here is Regnerus under a website for famous people they have him in the Science category. Even have FIVE glamor shot pics of him

    Here I found my link showing that Béatrice Bourges was alarming the French Childrens orgs 8 DAYS after Regnerus was published. John this is what launched it in France. It really was this damned Regnerus study.


    And even with the evidence of collusion and a corrupt peer review I can’t get the Sociologists to take it down, yet I sit here in my living room day after day tracking this and seeing the damage it is doing. Scott Rose who is now writing for LezGetReal has picked up on the revelations in the new docs that John Becker just revealed I think it was Friday. http://www.scribd.com/JohnMBecker/documents

    I cannot for the life of me figure out why these docs have not gotten hardly any attention. And this is a good link


  65. grayzip says:

    I guess my main point was that YOUR Holocaust invocation was wrong.

  66. karmanot says:

    Well done!

  67. Anonymous says:

    Even though Poland smacks of Russian values and church influences, I really hope they will not follow Russia. There are also rural people and homophobes there, but they seem to be a sizable minority, not a majority. After how Poland was humiliated in WW2, I hope they are not foolish enough.

  68. Anonymous says:

    Even with the good news about Nick Symmonds, there is disappointing news about a Russian protester.

    Russia: Gay rights activist who staged one-man protest may be charged as extremist
    “He either mentally ill, or is paid [for his activity]. I’m afraid it’s both,” said Milonov.

  69. StraightGrandmother says:

    Just follow the link in the Bilerico story. It’s all there in French. And trust me this is the only place you will find it. I found this and tipped off my French Twitter followers. It made the French news but for a different reason.

    You know that Béatrice Bourges is the Leader of French Spring. I sent it to my French Twitter Peeps and what they were pissed about is that Béatrice Bourges said that Russia is the model for France on how to treat homosexuals. That is what made the French news. What I was most interested in was that she complimented the Russsian lawmaker for using Regnerus. Trust me, I searched on this for a couple of weeks that one website is going to be the only place you find that link between Regnerus and the Russian lawmaker.

    Here is the French news reporting on the part that made them mad, the rest the part about the link to Regnerus you can find through the links on the John Becker story.


  70. StraightGrandmother says:

    Powerful commentary Becca. Do you remember the awful awful videos out of the country of Georgia? The mob of wasn’t it 10,000 people lead by Orthodox Priests attacking that very small group of sexual minorities who had a permit to have a small gathering for IDAHO (International day against homophobia) remember how they were attacked by the mob?

    I waited a while for things to quiet down then I e-mailed the leader of that LGBT group in Georgia, I asked him if Regnerus was being used against him in Georgia. This is the one place I wrote to, where it was NOT used against gays there. He wrote back, “They just hate us so much in Georgia they don’t need any justification.” It is the only place I found where Regerus wasn’t being used.

    You write beautifully. I used to write better when I was younger, I appreciate reading a good comment like yours, and John’s articles.

  71. Where can I get more info on the Russians using that awful study?

  72. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    I’m sure that Putin and his cohorts are looking at the LGBT folk beginning to gain some political power in many Western countries, and they realize that they could lose their scapegoat should that happen in Russia. There is probably a correlation between the great number of people coming out and the gain of political power in many countries. The new Russian laws effectively prevents their LGBT people from coming out. Thus the LGBT people remain downtrodden in Russia, and Russia does not lose it’s scapegoat.

  73. Dave of the Jungle says:

    Many entirely serious university professors became officers in Himmler’s SS and actively tried to prove Aryan supremacy and deep origins of the German Folk, for example.


  74. StraightGrandmother says:

    That happened?

    Well yes, then we are seeing history repeat itself.

  75. Hue-Man says:

    Without wanting to start a firefight, I would add the post-9/11 treatment of Muslims (and brown-skinned Indians, Arabs, etc.). The virulent hate continues to be spilled today by politicians and the press.

  76. Dave of the Jungle says:

    This reminds me of how the Nazis appropriated the academic work of Anthropologists, Archeologists and Biologists when it could be fabricated into a justification for dispositions and prejudices they already had and were eager to sell.

  77. FLL says:

    That makes it even more important to pursue lawsuits to uncover the sources of information that were used in the Regnerus research paper, and then make that information public.

  78. BeccaM says:

    Brilliant analysis, StraightGrandmother, from a hitherto unexplored angle on all this.

  79. StraightGrandmother says:

    John you are absolutely RIGHT!

    I got poo-pohed when I said that the rising of anti gay hatred is the start of a genocide. Not that it is, but this is how genocide starts. I was criticized for making a compason to Nazi Germany.

    You can believe me or not but this major uptick in anti gay hatred accelerated with the Publication of the Mark Regnerus research paper. I wrote to the Editor (and advisory editors) who published this James Wright out of the Univ of Central Florida and told him my biggest fear is how this would be used in Africa and Russia. From the first moments I laid eyes on that study I could see how it would be used in Africa and Russia. I predicted this 14 months ago.

    AND I was right. Regnerus was used by the author of the Russian Law, Yelena Mizulina in Russia to drive support. What most people do not realize is that prior to the Regnerus paper the Haters had nothing scientific to back up their hatred, they had nuthin! This Regnerus paper gave them something, what it did was it gave them a reason, justification. What is happening in Russia today I predicted 14 months ago. And I got criticized for saying it. What the Russians have done is make people not be gay in public, they have disappeared them in public. In public they must look and act straight. These laws ARE reminiscent of the start of the Holocaust. They are. And what is so terrifying is that there is collaboration across national boundaries to support the efforts to make gay people disappear in public. You can be in public, but you can’t be gay in public. As we read in the Guardian newspaper article the Russians are now working on laws to actually remove children from homes with gay parents.

    I tracked Regnerus around the world and have been doing so for 14 months, steady every day. Watch, Poland is next. I can tell simply by tracking Regnerus when there are newspaper articles and YouTube Videos and blog articles and comments on blog articles where the Regnerus research is being cited, or quoted that is where the Hatred is formenting.

    Do you know that 8 DAYS, not weeks DAYS, after the Regnerus paper was published Beatrice Bourges who was the Federation Leader of 70 Childrens orgs in France, 8 DAYS after publication she was broacasting it with alarm to 70 childrens groups in France. The publication of the Regnerus paper marked the beginning of the French coalescing, uniting against gay people. Why? Because they finally had something. Don’t get me wrong in many cases that disapproval was already existing, and in many cases religiously based hatred, but what Regnerus did it is gave them justification and that was the start of it in France. Why do you think Regnerus gave a newspaper interview to a Russian Newspaper who requested an interview? It was because his research was already known and talked about in Russia. I have the Russian URL of the Scribd account where this paper was viewed 13,000 times.

    John is not wrong his article is spot on. It is my deepest regret that I could not get Sociologists to retract the Regnerus paper. The peer review was corrupt, there was collusion between Regnerus and Wilcox and then Wilcox ended up to be a peer reviewer. It stinks to high heaven but still, I can’t get the Sociologists to retract. And in the meantime I simply continue to follow this around the world. I jsut read an article in Polish yesterday, “People trust foreigners more than gays” and of course in the comments is a link to a Polish news article that goes into great detail on the Regnerus paper. Regnerus gave these haters what they needed, that golden reason, there it is right from the University of Texas. It is only going to get worse not better, unless we all do everything within our means to stop this hatred.


  80. BeccaM says:

    Turned you down? Honestly, I don’t recall the offer being made. Really, truly, I don’t. Nor would I have. (Maybe you did and I’m blanking… if so, I beat my earlier self with a dead chicken for being foolish.)

    I don’t care about being paid for this. Obviously I enjoy writing here, else I wouldn’t do it so much or so compulsively. ;-) On the other hand, if you get rich and then decided to put me on payroll, I wouldn’t turn it down… lol

    As for this comment above, please feel free to repost it. You can edit it, too, if you like.

  81. cole3244 says:

    there are holocausts happening all the time around the globe but on a much smaller level and against members of societies that aren’t thought to have value by the elites.

    the worlds outrage is saved for those groups that are popular and sympathetic to those that have power, money, and control the media.

  82. And you turned down my offer to write occasionally on the home page of the blog… why? ;-) I realize I can’t pay you, so fair is fair, that’s a great disincentive, but this stuff is great :)

    Mind if I repost this tomorrow on the site?

  83. My reasoning is rather clear. It states that if most Holocaust invocations are wrong, that doesn’t mean all Holocaust invocations are wrong. And we do the Holocaust a disservice by looking at the former and assuming the latter.

  84. Monoceros Forth says:

    I’ve said it before and I’ll said it again: “Godwin’s Law”, as originally stated, is neutral, a mere statement of probability. It says only that as an argument on the Internet continues, the probability of some comparison to Hitler or Nazi Germany approaches one. The “hurr hurr you said ‘Hitler’, Godwin sez I win the argument!” interpretation is a later innovation and a false one, really not that much different than declaring yourself the winner of an argument because your opponent misspelled a word.

  85. grayzip says:

    Yes, the Holocaust started with comparatively smaller steps to ostracize and demonize Jewish people, and yes those grew into the Holocaust, so there is undeniably that. But by your reasoning one could make a Holocaust analogy every time a government discriminates against a minority. And many do! And I tend to mind not because it’s blasphemous but because it tends to make the speaker sound overwrought and unhinged, which does the cause at hand no favors.

    So if you really believe Russia is going to try to exterminate all its gays then by all means make that case. I don’t believe that, though, and I don’t believe you do either. I believe they will imprison some and thugs will beat and even kill some and the rest will face generalized injustice, which is awful on its own terms so let’s fight it on its own terms.

  86. Dave of the Jungle says:


  87. Whitewitch says:

    Frog in water, turn temp up slowly, boiling frog,

  88. Dave of the Jungle says:

    Yes, a careful reading of the history of National Socialism in Germany during the 1930s shows that the systematic abuse of Jews and other target groups evolved very gradually. Most Germans were so enthralled by improvements in the employment outlook and the national esteem after the defeat in World War 1 that they barely noticed what was happening. One small step after another led to catastrophe over quite a long period of time.

    Not only can it happen again in Europe but it can happen HERE, as well.

  89. Whitewitch says:

    Bravo John, well stated, well written response and most excellently correct! Here is to hope that we shall never live to see another.

  90. karmanot says:

    Well done John. It’s time to bury Godwin’s Law once and for all. We will not be surprised when ( not if) this pogrom becomes a genocide. If the tales of my inlaw’s are of any account and the flight from 19th cen Russia necessitated by life itself, the story begins much as is being reported now in Russia. The idea that the Russian people are to be exempt from criticism is as absurd as excusing the German Frau’s, who complained bitterly about the ashen, waxy grey flakes that regularly issued forth from the nearby Auschwitz camp and ruined their pure white Aryan laundry.

  91. Dave of the Jungle says:


  92. BeccaM says:

    What Russia is doing to gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transfolk isn’t the Holocaust. I don’t have a problem with that particular word being associated solely with the German campaign of genocide and extermination — especially if it is remembered that while the overwhelming majority of those murdered were Jews, the Germans and their allies also killed gays, Romani, and the learning/cognitively disabled.

    Moreover, while there’s all this focus on what the Germans did, let’s also not forget what Japan was doing in its own conquered territories. The Rape of Nanking comes to mind, as does the systematic enslavement of people, including young women having to serve as compelled prostitutes for Japanese soldiers.

    The point is to recognize the parallels, the social movement towards oppression and violence and recognize when it has happened before, in the same ways. Russia’s new anti-gay laws are startlingly similar to the anti-Jewish laws passed by Germany in the years leading up to the actual Holocaust.

    And you’re right, John, the Holocaust wasn’t an anomaly. If nothing like it could ever happen again, what’s the point in ‘remembering it always’? Besides, there were (and are) plenty of other human-enacted evil acts that could qualify for comparison. Let’s also not forget what Pol Pot did. Or the Spanish Inquisition. Or the Crusades. Or the ‘Trail of Tears’ and systematic dispossession of America’s indigenous peoples. And the United States dreadful history of being founded on slavery.

    Think about that: The United States of America’s primary founding document, the one our elected leaders vow to uphold, protect, and defend, includes entire sections laying out the rules for legal slavery and the reduction of an entire group of human beings to 60% — with zero voice in society or in government. Sure, it was superseded by the Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th Amendment, but for three quarters of a century, our American nation was founded on the principle that it was okay for one human being to own another.

    The lists of atrocities we’ve done to each other, in ways small and large, is endless.

    If we’re to learn anything from history, including events like the Holocaust, we have to be willing to recognize when the same events are happening, when we see the same warning signs. What’s happening to LGBTs in Russia now is very similar to what began happening to Jews in Germany in the early 30s. Oppressive laws targeting a minority, systematically shutting them out of society, spreading lies and scapegoating them, and the enabling of vigilante thugs to raise the level of violence and fear.

    ‘Similar’ doesn’t have to equal ‘identical’ — although it’s damned close. The Germans claimed Jews were conspiring to damage the German economy and harm the nation, corrupt their young, and harm the German-Aryan race with their flawed genes and perverse practices. The Russians are claiming gays are conspiring to damage Russian society, culture and the nation, corrupt their young, and damage the Russian genetic heritage with gay genes and perverse practices. So the Germans tried to make the Jewish people out to be criminal financiers and conspirators; the Russians are trying to make LGBTs out to be pedophiles. Both are stereotyped slurs intended to dehumanize, so that down the road, when they begin (or began) the executions, those pulling the levers or turning the poison gas wheels actually do not believe they are killing human beings.

    Making the comparison is in no way disrespecting the memory of all the Jews, Romani, gays, and mentally disabled the Germans slaughtered. Comparing and recognizing is the only way to ensure “never again” is respected and protected.

  93. Thom Allen says:

    John, you make an excellent case. Very nice work!

  94. goulo says:

    Well argued. And thanks for all the various recent posts about this Russian anti-gay frenzy.

  95. usagi says:

    It’s another form of denialism (see also any of the pedantic nitpicking about the overall arc of the Jesse Owens story). People want the Holocaust to be unique because then it can be dismissed as something terrible that happened once, not something that has happened a number of times in human history and that can, most certainly, happen again.
    Something else to remember about the Holocaust. At the time, according to the laws of the sovereign nation of Germany, it was all legal.

  96. voltronforce says:

    The way Putin’s thugs are targeting gay minors is disturbing. The Russian legislature is controlled in the majority by Putin. Now that Communism is gone they are free to become right wing orthodox zealots.

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