There's a must-read opinion piece by Harvey Fierstein in today's New York Times:
Russia's president, Vladimir V. Putin, has declared war on homosexuals. So far, the world has mostly been silent.
On July 3, Mr. Putin signed a law banning the adoption of Russian-born children not only to gay couples but also to any couple or single parent living in any country where marriage equality exists in any form. A few days earlier, just six months before Russia hosts the 2014 Winter Games, Mr. Putin signed a law allowing police officers to arrest tourists and foreign nationals they suspect of being homosexual, lesbian or “pro-gay” and detain them for up to 14 days. Contrary to what the International Olympic Committee says, the law could mean that any Olympic athlete, trainer, reporter, family member or fan who is gay—or suspected of being gay, or just accused of being gay—can go to jail.
Earlier in June, Mr. Putin signed yet another antigay bill, classifying “homosexual propaganda” as pornography. The law is broad and vague, so that any teacher who tells students that homosexuality is not evil, any parents who tell their child that homosexuality is normal, or anyone who makes pro-gay statements deemed accessible to someone underage is now subject to arrest and fines. Even a judge, lawyer or lawmaker cannot publicly argue for tolerance without the threat of punishment.
Finally, it is rumored that Mr. Putin is about to sign an edict that would remove children from their own families if the parents are either gay or lesbian or suspected of being gay or lesbian. The police would have the authority to remove children from adoptive homes as well as from their own biological parents. Not surprisingly, some gay and lesbian families are already beginning to plan their escapes from Russia.
Fierstein goes on to call for a boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympics. I'm in complete agreement—in fact, I've been wondering why big gay orgs in the west aren't already calling for a boycott.
The time to act is now: four Dutch tourists were arrested yesterday for violating Russia's ban on "homosexual propaganda." Some people are already taking action. Gay activists in Mexico City were the first to demonstrate outside a Russian embassy. Queer Nation—didn't know they were still around—called today for a worldwide boycott of Russian vodka. If they're serving Russian Standard or Stolichnaya brand vodkas in the bars where you drink—gay or straight—ask to speak to the manager and ask them to drop those brands. If they won't, tell them you plan to drink someplace else.
Seattle is home to one of four Russian consulates in the United States. It's located in 6th and Virginia in downtown Seattle. It's time to speak up in defense of LGBT people in Russia. Let's pick a date, plan a demo, and make our voices heard.