Friday, January 17, 2014

Putin says there is a difference between "relations" and "propaganda of relations"

The Washington Post is reporting that Russian President Valdimir Putin has said “Gays are safe at the Olympics as long as the ‘leave kids alone’”, in a front page story Friday by Kathy Lally, link here
    
The tone of the comment is certainly disturbing and insulting, as it insinuates that gay men and lesbians would have an innate tendency to prefer minors or look for them.  But the comments is more about speech: he doesn’t want teenagers to learn about homosexuality and then “decide” that they are not going to try to have children, in a country very concerned about population loss. 
  
Why can’t Russia have an honest discussion internally about population loss, and about the need for larger families?  In and of itself, that is a subject that Russians need to understand.  I don’t know whether Russia has filial responsibility laws, but that would also go along with such a discussion.

Putin did point out that Russia no longer has sodomy laws (they were overturned in 1993, while many American states still had them until Lawrence v. Texas – in fact some still have them) and that people are not arrested for what they do in their own homes. 
  
Putin says that there is a difference between a “ban on (private adult consensual sexual) relations” and the “propaganda of such relations”.  That is the authoritarian mindset, that the loyalty and synergy of people is maintained by propaganda. In the west, there is supposed to be a variety of views about something with the individual making his own choice, as long as the person takes responsibility for his or her actions.  It sounds like that narrower view of personal responsibility, in the Russian view, cannot sustain a nation. 

Putin's comments also reflected an idea about "sending a message" in defiance of "traditional values".  He suggestet that some countries would legalize pedophilia (the age of consent is lower in most European countries than in most US States). Why is advocacy of equal rights or even of stopping vigilante-style harassment "propaganizing" to children?

One other observation to keep in mind -- the 2013 Russian law bans making information about "non-traditional sexual relations" available to minors, even when heterosexual.  It effectively bans discussion in front of children any sexual topics that present the idea of sexuality separated from procreative potential. 

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