Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Moscow News: End Gay Rights 'Ghetto';
Alexseyev Plan 'Unstuck'

The Moscow News is doing global gay activism a huge favor by running a number of balanced news stories on the myriad problems of Moscow Pride and its leader. On Monday, the news outlet published an editorial pointing up the failures of Alexseyev's leadership and refusal to work in coalition with other social justice advocates in Russia, and that is incredibly damaging to the LGBT struggle.

The criticism coming from Russian gays, online/new and traditional media, a small number of foreign activists and the non-existent support from IGLHRC, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty, ILGA, et al, seems of no consequence to many European and American bloggers and reporters.

They seem blinded by the high wattage of celebrity activists parachuting into Red Square. If those bloggers and reporters need a good place to start with covering the other sides of the Moscow Pride story, this editorial would be the place. Some excerpts from the Moscow News:

The failure by gay rights activists to hold a march in Moscow on Saturday, and the now-ritual beating of LGBT protestors by police, ultra-nationalists and Orthodox fundamentalists, comes as a blow to hopes that a post-Luzhkov City Hall would finally allow the march to go ahead. ...

But the prejudices fed by a largely intolerant mainstream media need to be challenged by more than publicity stunts and annual visits to Moscow by international LGBT celebrity protestors.

The strategy of Nikolai Alexeyev, the main organiser of Moscow’s gay marches, to appeal for Russian authorities to obey European laws on equal rights but not to link up the struggle for equality with a wider alliance of social protest movements, seems to be coming unstuck.

The problems with this approach were clearly shown by Alexeyev’s controversial performance on the ‘’K Baryeru” TV debate last week. Faced with homophobic comments and attempts by his opponents to link gays and lesbians to paedophilia, Alexeyev somewhat petulantly walked out of the debate.

Taking his place for the last part of the TV show – and doing a far better job in arguing for an end to discrimination against all sexual minorities – was a socialist feminist, Yevgenia Otto.

Rather than antagonising the audience, Otto pointed out how discrimination is used by elites to divide and rule, and cited examples of how united community action in the US changed attitudes there. ...

Rights for sexual minorities should not be a “ghetto issue”. They should be part of a wider campaign for a more just and tolerant society.

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