Russia’s Anti-Gay Culture: A First Person View

Vera Kichanova, a young, straight, married Russian gives us a glimpse of how empowering gay bashers feel in the wake of Russia’s gay propaganda law. From The New York Times:

The men in the group were wearing plaid shirts and oversized glasses. Kichanova, the only woman, was dressed in a skirt, white knee-highs, and oversized glasses. “We weren’t the only people in that place who looked like hipsters,” she told me the next day. They were celebrating a friend’s birthday. They danced, they drank, they chatted. Kichanova and her husband, 22-year-old Pavel Gnilorybov, went upstairs to get some air on a terrace, and two of their friends, both male, stayed behind at the bar talking. A few minutes later, a woman screaming “Faggots!” ran up to the two men and started hitting them. As they tried to calm her down, she was joined by another woman and three men, who also began hitting the two young men they perceived as gay. Finally, the club’s security intervened — by escorting the two victims out of the bar. The attackers proceeded upstairs to the terrace, where they continued screaming antigay epithets and attacked Kichanova and Gnilorybov. Security intervened again, escorting the couple down to the bar area and again taking no action against the attackers. Kichanova asked them to call the police, but they ignored her.

The young people left the bar covered in bruises. Some of them wanted to call the police, but the first victim begged them not to for fear that his name might become public. After getting home, Kichanova and Gnilorybov described the incident on their blogs.

In the morning, both got the same message through a Russian social network: “It was us. You better not go to that bar anymore. Waiters in green and security guards in black are not going to help you. I’m telling you for your own sake: The place is closed to gays.”

“A year ago these people did not feel like they could get away with something like this,” Kichanova said, referring both to the assault and to the fact the attackers clearly did not fear being exposed by corresponding with their victims. “But now they are certain that they have not only the security guards but also the law on their side.”

Read the full article

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