Sunday, June 30, 2013

Contrasting Pictures

This post could perhaps more aptly be entitled A Tale of Two Centuries. The top picture, from yesterday's Dyke March in Toronto, represents some of the best of the twenty-first century as people increasingy accept and welcome the diversity that is humanity. It is hard not to feel a measure of pride in a country that, while still beset with a myriad of problems, has been one of the world's forerunners in promoting equality regardless of sexual orientation. Both the Dyke Parade and today's Pride Parade are ample testaments to that progressiveness.

The second picture, taken from yesterday's Pride Parade in St. Petersburg, could just as easily have been taken in the nineteenth century or earlier, as protesters clashed with paraders who were taking a brave stance in a city where it is illegal to demonstrate on behalf of equal rights for LGBT people; by publicly doing so, they broke a city bylaw that is about to become national law.

Russian President Vladimir Putin will soon sign into law a bill that bans “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations.”

Under Russia’s new law, people who promote homosexuality through any media, including online, can be charged up to $3,200. The fines are tenfold for organizations, which can also be shuttered for 90 days.

According to state-owned pollster Vtsiom, 88 per cent of Russians support the ban. A survey by independent pollster Levada last year found that half of Russians believe homosexuals should be forcibly given medical or psychological treatment.

Changing people's attitudes and perspectives is among the most difficult of challenges. The fact that such challenges can be met is epitomized in twenty-first century Toronto in particular and North America in general.

In a world beset by runaway climate change, choking pollution, government surveillance of its citizens and a relentless and unforgiving corporate agenda that gleefully exploits an increasingly desperate workforce, surely it is time to turn our attention to matters more important than who people spend their time and their lives with.


  1. Russia's return into brutal totalitarianism is astonishing. The government has become utterly enmeshed with the Russian Orthodox church as to become indistinguishable. If the church wants homosexuality suppressed the Kremlin doesn't hesitate to enact the required laws.

    1. In many ways, Mound, despite being an alleged democracy, Russia seems mired in attitudes more consistent with its czarist past.