When I first heard about Russia's new law criminalizing "gay propaganda" -- any positive or neutral portrayal of LGBT people -- I thought: uh-oh, the Russian authorities are about to discover that this will cause more revulsion in much of the world than supporting Bashar al-Assad in Syria.
This surmise has proven true. Sure, it is still usually possible anywhere to whip up xenophobia by attacking supposedly "alien" gay folks. But cosmopolitan global opinion will speedily condemn those who do this. A new global red line has been set. People and whole countries that pride themselves on their modernity and liberalism don't take kindly to political gay-bashing. Twenty-two percent of the world's population may still be struggling to survive on less than $1.25 a day, but we're living the gay rights moment in the sun,
The web portal Open Democracy has published a couple Russian gay activists' observations on their sudden visibility. We'd probably do well to listen to the people whose lives are actually on the line while we shout our outrage.
Here's Sergey Khazov: explaining how the anti-gay law has backfired:
Igor Yasin thinks the law shows that Russia needs its own Stonewall: He is very aware that Russia's gays are being used as pawns in a political effort to invigorate the Putin regime's shaky legitimacy.
We don't help Russian LGBT people by posturing. We do help by completing our own rights "revolution."