by David Badash
on September 8, 2013
An LGBT journalist in Russia has called Vladimir Putin‘s war on gays “a call to violence,” and is asking the U.S. for help. “Get us the hell out of here,” Masha Gessen says. The U.S. citizens of Russian descent, who is living in Russia with her partner and three children had said she is moving to New York, but from her home in Russia Gessen talked with veteran LGBT journalist Michelangelo Signorile this week.
“Gessen hoped Western pressure in recent months would help change the course of Russia’s crackdown on its LGBT citizens, but now she believes that that’s not going to happen, and that it’s time for Russian LGBT people to flee the country to escape what she says has now become “all-out war” against LGBT people in Russia,” Signorile, Editor-at-large for the Huffington Post’s “Gay Voices,” writes:
And she’s calling on the United States to allow political asylum for LGBT Russians, and for LGBT activists here to focus on making that happen.
“You turn on the television, you see somebody highly placed,” she explained, “talking about whether the homosexual ‘propaganda’ law is enough, or if we need to take it further. That sounds like a call to violence. It’s taken as a call to violence, sometimes operating in many cities, in the very center of Moscow, in the trendiest of bars, where people have been getting beaten up, and the police do not interfere. Anti-gay violence is seen as par for the course, and if you don’t want violence, remove the gays, not the perpetrators.”
Last month, video went viral of a high-level Russian news agency director, Dmitri Kisilev, saying that the hearts of gay people are “unsuitable” for life.
“Gessen is fortunate that, as an American citizen, with the Defense of Marriage Act now struck down, she can move to the U.S. with her partner, whom she can sponsor for a green card. But she knows that that’s not the case for the vast majority of LGBT Russians,” Signorile adds: