With 74% of Russians saying in opinion polls that homosexuality should not be accepted by society, the western world is speaking out on an industrial scale. The Sochi Winter Olympic games very quickly became an international pedestal for speaking out about the increasingly homophobic Russia along with #Russia’s new “anti-gay” laws, banning homosexual propaganda in front of minors. Whilst the tides are turning for the #LGBT community in Britain, with same-sex marriage recently being legalised, the situation in the rest of the world is vastly deteriorating.
Whilst on Russian turf LGBT people aren’t allowed to promote their sexuality in front of children. 5,578 miles away in Uganda the “Anti homosexuality act, 2014” sentences homosexuals to life imprisonment. However, the act doesn’t stop there in prohibiting Ugandan’s from being gay in Uganda, the act also includes provisions for Ugandan’s engaging in same-sex relations in other countries to be extradited back to Uganda. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be a gay Russian than a gay Ugandan right now.
I have often questioned why the British public are speaking out about Russia, as opposed to places such as Uganda where the situation is clearly more dramatic, and I have come to only one conclusion… It could easily be us. With Russia being a relatively developed country and also a predominantly white country, it is much easier for the British LGBT community to empathise with it’s Russian counterparts and put themselves in their shoes so to speak. African nations, in which the life-style’s massively differ, aren’t easily relatable for British nationals - which could have resulted in a lack of care for the African LGBT community in comparison to our own.
I next draw your attention to the fact that homophobia within the #Commonwealth, of which Uganda is a part and of which our own Queen is the head of state for it’s members, is much more severe than that of Russia. Out of 53 Commonwealth member states, 41 still criminalise same-sex relations between consenting adults. In 2 Commonwealth countries it is possible in certain regions to be executed under Sharia law for homosexual acts (Pakistan and Nigeria). And where do these homophobic laws originate from in many cases? British colonialism.
Much of the homophobia in these 41 Commonwealth countries strings from British colonialism and was instituted by our old laws and public opinions. For me at least, these facts bring the situation of homophobia in the commonwealth a lot closer to home than the situation in Russia.
In Russia the LGBT community is allowed to walk freely in the streets as long as they don’t promote their lifestyle. In many Commonwealth countries it is illegal to be gay. For this reason I beg that the LGBT community in Britain turns it’s attention, not completely, away from Russia and increasingly focuses on homophobia within the Commonwealth.