Must-see: Russian journalist/lesbian activist Masha Gessen on Chris Hayes’ show (video)

Russian journalist and lesbian activist Masha Gessen, who wrote a critically-acclaimed biography of Russian President Vladimir Putin (“The Man Without a Face: The unlikely rise of Vladimir Putin”), appeared on Chris Hayes’ show on MSNBC last night.

Masha did an amazing job explaining the current situation in Russia, how the international community can help LGBT Russians, and why the current campaign against Russian vodka and the Olympics matters.


During the broadcast, Masha told Chris that over the past few decades the trajectory in Russia was moving in the direction of LGBT progress. But then in the last year and a half it’s been moving backwards in terms of both homophobia and violence.

Masha talked about her decision to leave Russia, in order to protect her children, now that Russia is talking about potentially removing children from same-sex families.  She will move to NYC.

Masha goes on to say that the reason Russia was able to move so quickly in the direction of homophobia is because no one was watching, the world didn’t pay attention.  Russia figured it could scapegoat gays and get away with it.  And it’s been a big surprise to the Russian authorities that we’ve fought back, and “it’s making them squirm,” she says.

“They’ve really squirmed,” Masha says, about Russia’s position on the 2014 Winter Olympics, which will be held in Sochi, Russia next February. The Olympics are a big deal for Putin, Masha says, he personally lobbied for them, they’re his big international moment.  He wants the Olympics to go off without a hitch.

Masha adds: “As long as the pressure is on, it’s not going to make them reconsider those laws. But it will possibly make them dial back the campaign of hate, and it can prevent the passage of further laws, including the law on removing children from same-sex families.”

The video is about 9 minutes and moves quickly.  Masha did an amazing job, as did Chris (thank you, Chris).  Do watch it, it goes by quickly.

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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14 Responses to “Must-see: Russian journalist/lesbian activist Masha Gessen on Chris Hayes’ show (video)”

  1. shanob says:

    I see the sales of remote controlled flying dildoes skyrocketing for this Olympic games.

  2. StraightGrandmother says:

    I disagree with you. It matters VERY MUCH that Regnerus et al remains un rebuked by their professional association.

  3. Stev84 says:

    Even if they disavowed him and kicked him out, it would change nothing. The anti-gay clowns are still quoting Paul Cameron after all.

  4. xihetafolex says:

    мy coυѕιɴ ιѕ мαĸιɴɢ $51/нoυr oɴlιɴe. υɴeмployed ғor α coυple oғ yeαrѕ αɴd prevιoυѕ yeαr ѕнe ɢoт α $1З619cнecĸ wιтн oɴlιɴe joв ғor α coυple oғ dαyѕ. ѕee мore αт…­ ­ViewMore——————————————&#46qr&#46net/kAgk

    Meanwhile, Rachel Maddow hangs on to her elitist post in the Ivory Tower, sublimely unaffected.

  5. scottrose says:

    The U.S. sociological establishment did ZERO to uncover the malfeasance involved in Regnerus’s study and its publication. Once the hard work of uncovering the documentation of the malfeasance involved had advanced beyond a critical point, the U.S. sociological establishment nonetheless effectively did ZERO to see Wright, Wilcox, Regnerus et al held accountable for their ethics violations. It is as though the leaders of the US sociological establishment didn’t give a fuck about the well-being of LGBTers worldwide.

  6. scottrose says:

    The blood of gay bashing victims is dripping off of the American Sociological Association’s Sally Hillsman’s fingers, for sweeping the ASA Code of Ethics’ violations committed by James Wright, Brad Wilcox and Mark Regnerus under the carpet. And, James Wright’s dishonest, unethical fingers are soaked in gay-bashed blood.

  7. FLL says:

    As far as Hayes’ original segment in the series, the one with Richard Socarides, Gigi Fernandez and Julia Ioffe, I included a link, so anyone can watch the segment and make up their own mind about whether Hayes is asking journalistic questions as a way to prompt his guests or whether he was mocking the idea of boycotting or relocating the Games. I took the time to watch all four segments in his series, and I think he did a good job, on balance. OK, then you and I disagree on that assessment.

    Your last two sentences are a mystery. What are you talking about? My criticism of what? My criticism of whom? Can you tell me exactly what it is in my comment that you’re even talking about? And you’re now trying to read my mind by telling me that I’m attempting to avoid triggering a notification message to you? By that, I can only guess that you mean that I didn’t post my text as a reply to your comment, but as my own independent comment. The reason is that my text is a comment about John’s post, not a reply to your comment. Clear? No need to say that I’m being tacky for simply posting my own comment rather than obediently posting a reply to your comment. That’s an unfair accusation. If you’ll read my comment again, you can see that I don’t refer to your comment, only the content of John’s post. I have just as much right to comment on John’s post as you do. Kindly shove off.

  8. Skeptical Cicada says:

    What are you, his fucking publicist? What you hear as Hayes just asking questions, plenty of other people heard as mocking the very idea of a boycott or relocation of the Games, and he was justifiably pilloried for it–which was the only reason he quickly scheduled that Fierstein/Savage segment. Nor is this the only gay issue on which he’s quickly recited some rote support for gay rights and then proceeded to attack gay activism. He has a history of it. Immigration reform was another example. And, yeah, I noticed your criticism even though you tried to avoid triggering a notification message to me.

  9. FLL says:

    I don’t know why Rachel Maddow hasn’t been covering the anti-gay campaign in Russia, but if it is because MSNBC wants Christ Hayes to cover this rather than her, then Maddow should simply mention that in one of her segments. In any case, I watched the four segments of “All In” with Chris Hayes.

    His segment with Richard Socarides, Gigi Fernandez, Julia Ioffe on August 12 (link here) allowed opponents of the Olympic boycott (Fernandez and Ioffe) to air their views, along with one supporter of the boycott (Socarides). Hayes started with a lead-in:

    “I’ve been hearing a lot of people say this idea of boycotting the Games is crazy and misguided. The idea, the spirit of the Games is to cross these boundaries and for athletes to go and compete and perform.”

    Hayes is not stating his personal opinion, obviously. That’s just a way of saying, “Some people are opposed to a boycott… what’s your opinion?”

    Hayes’ second and third segments (with Harvey Fierstein and Dan Savage) were on August 14 (links here) and here) in which Hayes noted the parallels to the 1936 Olympics that John Aravosis had written about:

    “I’ve seen in some of the blogs I’ve been reading and commentary and lgbt activists, I’ve seen people have been posting about Hitler in 1936 in the Olympics. There was actually a skirmish that was posted in the New York Times—John Aravosis posted this—in which Hitler agreed to take down anti-Jewish propaganda.”

    And yesterday, he had the segment with Masha Gessen that John linked to above direct link to MSNBC page is here), Chris Hayes breaks out of his role of journalist for the first time and offers his personal opinion:

    “It looks like you are staring into the very darkest heart of fascism. I mean, the very core, deepest, worst kind of stuff that people and governments do when they hate together.”

    If this series of shows is representative of Hayes’ work on the anti-gay campaign in Russia, I hope he does more.

  10. Skeptical Cicada says:

    It’s about time that little bastard Chris Hayes stopped wallowing in straight privilege, stopped sitting around with his straight panels attacking gay activism against his precious Russia, shut his condescending straight-boy mouth, and finally let an actual gay activist speak. Long overdue.

  11. StraightGrandmother says:

    Yeah, Rachel, “Earth to Rachel.”

  12. Indigo says:

    It’s so much easier when the public is poorly educated. You just make stuff up and repeat it often enough, they take it to be the “truth.” Personally, I’ve started avoiding the word “truth” in favor of “facts” because the swirl of misrepresentation is so intense.

  13. StraightGrandmother says:

    Did anybody listen to her when she said in the last year, year and a half it has gotten WORSE? That prior Russia was on an upward trajectory, but in the last year, year and a half it has gotten worse? YES! I have been saying that this “Getting worse” coincided with the publication of the invalid Mark Regnerus study of gay parenting (which he never even found gay parents).

    The leader of Extremist French Spring complimented the Russian author (Yelena) of the anti gay propaganda bill on how successfully Yelena was able to use the Regnerus study in Russia. This uptick in anti gay efforts globally but especially in Russia and Africa happened with the publication of that Regnerus study.

    Regnerus gave the haters that which they Did.Not.Have prior to this study, Justification. “We need to step on the gays because gay people are harmful to children”

    And just as a quick follow up, because the American Sociological Association did not sanction Regnerus for LYING in his report, he said his funders did nto participate and clearly the FOIA e-mails show that they did, because the ASA did NOTHING, Regnerus stays reputable. He just started a think tank in Austin where he is going to run studies on Families. He got some big right wing money from somewhere because they rented a house, Hired a director and are currently advertising for other positions. And what is the FIRST even to the “Austin Institute”? Why bringing Robby George, who along with Maggie Gallagher were the founders of the National Organization For Marriage, to the University of Texas Austin.

    If you look at the people on this page You will see that most are the same people are found starting on page 31 here and Here

    There is this religious band of Sociologists who are hell bent on developing Social Science whose purpose is to be used against gay people. As much as I am royally pissed off at Sherkat, the infamous auditor, who in my opinion put a priority of protecting the Editor James Wright ABOVE science, at least Sherkat sees what is going on.

    Sherkat tried to do 2 things, Protect Wright AND tear down the study, but by protecting Wright he shouted for NO RETRACTION, I condemn him for this. The Becker released e-mails shows that Sherkat & Wright were buddies and that Wright had hired him to write the section of Religion for the Elsevier published Encyclopedia of Sociology. IMHO Sherkat IS beholding to Wright. The comments to this article I read just last night are fascinating to me.

    This global uptick in the persecution of gay people, why? Why now? We should believe the Leader of French Spring.

  14. Indigo says:

    Meanwhile, Rachel Maddow hangs on to her elitist post in the Ivory Tower, sublimely unaffected.

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