How many years will it take before Russian society develops any kind of tolerance towards LGBT community? We do not know. Nobody knows. But the question that we want to address in this post is: why are Russians so homophobic?
More after the jump.
Is there anybody on the face of the earth who does not know that Russian society is extremely homophobic?
Well, if there is a person like that, let us enlighten you. Here is a short clip that demonstrates how dangerous could be a public display of affection between two men (not necessarily gay) in today's Russia.
Two guys from ChebuRussiaTV wanted to investigate what would happen if they walked the streets of Moscow holding hands. They videotaped the entire walk. The results were hardly surprising.
The fact that a great majority of Russians do not see homosexuality in a positive light is quite obvious. We could list a number of sources confirming this fact, but that would be superfluous and, therefore, redundant. Let's just say that according to Pew Research Center, 75% of Russians don't think that homosexuality should be accepted by society. Source
If you want to read more on the subject, here is another link for you: Link
Instead, let's focus on the reasons WHY Russians are not ready to embrace different colors of a rainbow.
First and foremost, let's examine some of the myths that permeate Russian society.
If we had to rate current views of Russians on homosexuality according to modern science, it is obvious that many Russians still believe that the earth sits on four elephants ( and don't forget about the turtle!).
Homosexuality is not natural. There is only one natural way: heterosexuality.
Homosexuality is a choice.
Homosexuality is not a choice, it is genetically inherited and hard-wired in our genes. If it was a choice, the number of homosexuals would suddenly decline or rise instead of remaining stable. However, the number of homosexuals remains the same in every human society, just like the number of girls and boys being born. If you would like to read more on this subject, here are some verifiable sources:
1. Homosexuality is genetic
2. Mom's Genetics Could Produce Gay Sons
3. Being Gay is Not a Choice
Homosexuality is a disease. Gay people are sick.
In medieval Europe homosexuality was considered sodomy and was punishable by death. Despite the fact that we are living in 2015, many cultures and countries continue to view homosexuality as a perversion.
In 1952, homosexuality was included in the first manual of Mental Disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association. However, it was removed from the manual in 1973, when there was enough evidence gathered that "same-sex sexual and romantic attractions and behaviors are normal and positive variations of human sexuality."
In 1977, the World Health Organization listed homosexuality as a mental illness. The listing was removed in 1990.
There is absolutely no scientific evidence that would back up the claim that homosexuality is a disease. However, the entire scientific community agrees on the fact that homosexuality is completely normal and natural.
Vladimir Lenin decriminalized homosexuality in Russia back in 1922, long before many other European countries. However, Joseph Stalin reversed this decision ten years later and homosexuality remained illegal in Russia till the 1990s.
Homosexuals are pedophiles.
If you are Russian and by some sheer accident you are reading this post, please remember: the great majority of pedophiles are actually heterosexual. Some pedophiles are homosexual, but they are outnumbered by the heterosexual ones.
Homosexuals are sexually attracted to adult people of the same sex, they are not attracted to kids.
You can persuade people to become homosexuals using propaganda.
Propaganda of homosexuality is an imaginary dragon that the Russian government is fighting. It is absolutely impossible to change someone's sexuality based on propaganda alone, just like it is not possible to persuade someone in his right mind to change his or her gender. Either you are genetically gay or you are not. No amount of propaganda (even as much as Kremlin spreads on a daily basis) can lead to changing one's sexuality, it is biologically impossible.
However, since Russians are completely brainwashed by their government, they believe whatever their government wants them to believe.
So, what is the reason why homophobia is so widespread among Russians?
1. State-sponsored homophobia
Even though there is no law in the Russian Constitution to punish homosexuals, gay people are not protected by the government against hate crimes. In fact, the police do very little to investigate and prevent harassment of homosexuals. By not prosecuting crimes against homosexuals the Russian state supports homophobia.
There are several reasons why the Russian state sponsors homophobia. One is that the Russian government is trying to portray the West as an enemy by claiming it is a place of moral decay, where sodomy is not only tolerated but widespread, where propaganda of homosexuality is common, and where people live in sin.
2. Lack of education and ignorance
In Russian schools, the teachers drill the grammar rules, the chemical formulas, the scientific definitions. But they do not cover the golden rule, they do not discuss cultural sensitivity and nobody most certainly works on creating LGBT-inclusive school climate. Russians grow up without any knowledge of homosexuality, veiled from this issue (just like many others) from the very childhood. That's what the Soviet Union was about: it was like an overcontrolling parent, making decisions for his naive citizens-kids.
If we don't talk about it, it does not exist. Does it work for Russians? Not the homosexual ones. They have to stay in that closet (and a very well hidden closet) for the rest of their lives.
4. Russian Orthodox Church
Russia is not a very religious country, but Russian Orthodox church has a lot of influence. According to Russian Orthodox church, homosexuality is a sin. Supported by the church and nor prosecuted by the state, the ultra-nationalists "fight" against homosexuality by physically attacking LGBT activists. One might wonder why nobody attacks homosexuals and pedophiles within the Russian Orthodox church.
5. Being behind the times
All Russia's problems stem from the same source: being behind times. We believe that in 100 years... okay, maybe 200 years Russia will mature as a country and will come to embrace homosexuals as rightful individuals just like many developed countries are doing it now. But this day is yet to come.
Can you make any difference? Of course, you can. You can start by explaining to all the Russian people you know that homosexuality is not a disease and most certainly not a crime. A Russian might not understand you due to his lack of knowledge, but he will at least hear your reasons. And that's a start.