The Sochi Olympics have focused attention on Vladimir Putin’s anti-gay laws, but homophobia runs deep in Russia and elsewhere around the world. Putin is not the only autocratic leader targeting gays to mobilize political supporters, sometimes to the point of deadly violence. And, increased approval of same-sex marriage in the US and parts of Europe is cited as evidence that the powerful West is “decadent.” Today we’ll hear what it’s like to be gay in Moscow—and what’s likely to happen when the Games in Sochi are over. Will pro-gay demonstrations have an impact in Russia? What about Africa? Will they make life even more dangerous for gays and lesbians?
A photograph in the latest GQ magazine shows two men kissing with a Russian church in the background. The caption says, “What the two men… are doing is now illegal in Russia.” The article is called, “Inside the Iron Closet: What It’s Like to Be Gay in Putin’s Russia.” We speak to the author Jeff Sharlet, an English professor at Dartmouth College and a fellow with the Nation Institute’s Investigative Fund.