23 lead Russian LGBT activists endorse boycott of Russian vodka, Olympics




Twenty-three leading gay and trans activists in Russia have endorsed the international boycott of Russian vodka that has exploded out of virtually nowhere in the past few days.

The activists also endorsed an overall boycott of Russian products, and a boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, in response to Russia’s recent brutal crackdown on its gay and trans citizens.

MOSCOW - MAY 28: Russian police detain a gay rights activist during an attempt to hold the unauthorized gay pride parade on May 28, 2011 in Moscow, Russia. (kojoku / Shutterstock.com)

MOSCOW – MAY 28: Russian police detain a gay rights activist during an attempt to hold the unauthorized gay pride parade on May 28, 2011 in Moscow, Russia. (kojoku / Shutterstock.com)

While Russia’s official antipathy towards gay and trans people had been growing for some time, the issue became much worse in the past month when Russian authorities passed a law basically banning anything and everything perceived as “pro-gay,” including making pro-gay statement, holding a meeting of a gay organization, or even wearing rainbow suspenders.

The issue came to a head in the past week as a result of three things.

First, gay actor and Broadway star Harvey Fierstein penned a scathing op ed in the NYT, blasting Russia for it’s anti-gay actions, and warning that the world once embraced the Olympic Games in Hitler’s Germany, and how did that turn out?

Next, Buzzfeed’s Matt Stopera compiled a chilling collection of 36 photos of the brutal violence the Russian authorities have visited on the LGBT community in that country.

And finally, columnist and activist Dan Savage wrote a seminal piece for his newspaper, the Stranger, calling for a boycott of Russian vodka.  The response to Dan’s request, Matt’s photos, and Harvey’s call to action was thundering.

Russian anti-gay thugs kick an LGBT rights activist. (Photo by Ilya Varlamov, with permission)

Russian anti-gay thugs kick an LGBT rights activist. (Photo by Ilya Varlamov, with permission)

In the first 48 hours alone, bars across the United States, Canada, Australia and Europe removed Russian vodka from their shelves.  And many more joined in over the weekend (I’ll be updating that list during the day.)

The Russian crackdown on gay and trans people has been swift, and frightening.  But gay, bi, trans people and our wonderful allies around the world are fighting back, hard.  And as a result, the international media, Russia’s vodka industry, the government of Russia, and the International Olympic Committee are finally paying attention.

The destruction of “Brand Russia” has only begun.  Stay tuned.

LuLu's in Palm Spring, California. A straight, but not narrow, establishment.

LuLu in Palm Springs, California. A straight, but not narrow, establishment.

Here’s the letter from the LGBT activists, organized by Queer Nation:

russian-lgbt-activist-boycott-1 russian-lgbt-activists-boycott-2

#dumpstoli


CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | 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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