Russia’s LGBT Discrimination (and Archer)

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Let me begin by saying everything I know about Russia is based on watching the show Archer. More specifically, its based on the scene pictured above, where Agent Sterling Archer is running from Russian police, and he rounds the corner and bumps into an old Russian lady carrying two bags of unsanitary looking food. He exclaims to her, “What? You hear machine guns and decide now is a good time to take out the- Oh. Oh, that’s groceries. I’m sorry, I thought it was garbage.” There’s also this part where he sees these kids playing with empty bottles on a roof. Not to mention the entire place is portrayed as dismal and covered with snow.

So yeah, my impression of Russia has always been that it sort of, you know, sucks.

With that in mind, perhaps you can see why I’m not as bothered as I could be about Russia’s anti-gay culture. Yes, it is horribly offensive. No, there is no excuse for discrimination. But… well, if a country is going to make people unwelcome because of their sexual orientation, isn’t it better that it’s a place that already blew anyway? Admit it, it would be WORSE if somewhere like Paris or Barcelona was suddenly afflicted with anti-gay sentiment. I mean, yeah Russia is trying to drive off gay people, but drive them off of what?? Beautiful Beaches? The cutting edge of culinary sophistication? A buzzing metropolis of culture, fashion, and the arts? No! Russia has none of those things! Perhaps, it’s just me, but I always try to see the glass half full.

So my suggestion is, make like Sterling Archer, get the hell out of Russia, and book a ticket to somewhere with palm trees, cigars, and hammocks.  

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Russia’s LGBT Discrimination (and Archer)

  1. Northern Minnesota Bi-Guy

    Okay, so I’ve really liked your blog so far, but I’ve just got to say this:
    This post smells of a certain type of moneyed privilege, served with a side of cultural snobbery. By this I mean the following:

    1) I’m sure many people would love to leave Russia for better opportunities. But unless they’re brilliant and can get student visas, or have lots of money, it’s not exactly easy for working class and poor folks to leave Russia. And, contrary to the Hollywood stereotype, not all GLBT folks are shiny-happy rich people. In Russia, just as in the US, there are LGBT folks in all income brackets and racial groups. It’s just that the media has done its best to render those of us who aren’t rich and white invisible. So it shows a complete lack of empathy for average work-a-day Russians to say, “Well just get out of there.”

    2) It also assumes that all Russians value the same things that you do: High arts and culture, culinary sophistication, and beautiful beaches. But those values aren’t the only ones that matter. Some people value family, community, heritage, and the landscape they grew up with. Some people boreal forests, wild lands and hunting and fishing. Some people just plain old like winter! It’s the kind of cultural snobbery that I encounter all the time living as I do in rural Northern Minnesota from people on the coasts. “How could you live there? There’s no culture! What do you do?”
    My usual answer is something like this: “Can you walk out your front door naked and pee anywhere you want if you like? Can you go catch fish out of streams with your bear hands and fry them up? No, I don’t think so.”
    Just people many people don’t value the same things you do, should they be condemned to a life of constant grinding discrimination?
    3) It is also folly to assume that Russian doesn’t have amazing, cosmopolitan cultural amenities. Ever heard of Ballet? Tchaikovsky? Caviar? Yeah, well the Russians perfected that shit.

    Okay, I’ll descend from my soapbox now. I mean no disrespect.
    I just hope you can grow your ability to put yourself in other people’s shoes.

    • Yeah I get it. This article wasn’t really meant to be serious. Obviously there are people who can’t/don’t want to leave, and obviously this is a serious situation. I just felt like further bemoaning it wasn’t going to do any good, so I just wanted to poke fun at it and hopefully make people laugh- people who might otherwise be feeling pretty down about being discriminated against.

  2. Andy

    I would like to chime in with a different opinion. This post is clearly meant to be comical, and one can’t effectively be comical if one adheres to absolute accuracy and political correctness at all times. All the best humor reaches into the realm of the rude, the alienating and the offensive. Personally I had a laugh, and was not offended because, as I said, this is meant to be humor.
    I’ve just started reading this blog. Please keep up the good work.

    • Thanks for sharing. On the one hand, this certainly was just meant to be a joke and poke fun at Russia. On the other hand, I can see why some may not think this situation is something to be made light of.

    • Northern Minnesota Bi-Guy

      I didn’t say what I said to be politically correct, I said it because I live with classism and cultural snobbery every day, and I’m f*in’ sick of it, Apparently its not cool to dis gays, buts its totally cool to dis poor rural people…

  3. Northern Minnesota Bi-Guy

    Thanks for understanding my point, Sydney. I appreciate that you were trying to make light of the situation – and I commend the effort, if not the execution.

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