Monday News: Anti-LGBTQ Violence in Russia

LOVEboldly is starting a weekly blog post highlighting current events in the LGBTQ community. Every Monday we will blog about a specific topic/story that we believe the Church should be aware. 
GayRussia-2

Right now, there are laws being passed in other countries that make it illegal to be LGBTQ or even be associated with supporting this community’s rights. Prison sentences, torture, and the death penalty are possible punishments for violating these laws. Although there are numerous laws being passed or already passed criminalizing homosexuality, we want to bring attention to what’s happening in Russia.

During June 2013, President Vladimir Putin signed a new law banning the ‘propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships’ to minors. This law makes it illegal to hold any gay pride events, speak in defense of gay rights, or say that gay relationships are equal to heterosexual relationships.

The federal law defines propaganda as:

 “distribution of information that is aimed at the formation among minors of nontraditional sexual attitudes, attractiveness of non- traditional sexual relations, misperceptions of the social equivalence of traditional and non-traditional sexual relations, or enforcing information about non-traditional sexual relations that evokes interest to such relations . . . .”

Since the law passed, there has been a surge in violence against the LGBTQ community. Self-proclaimed vigilantes have targeted LGBTQ persons with both public and private acts of brutality and torture. For example, a group called ‘Occupy Paedophilia‘ has been on what they call a ‘safari’ hunting gays. Videos of this group’s violent attacks document incidents where unsuspecting LGBTQ teens are lured through online dating sites and then brutally humiliated and tortured.

According to the Spectrum Human Rights Alliance (SHRA):

“These self-proclaimed ‘crime fighters’ perform their actions under the broad day light, often outside and clearly visible to the general public that indifferently passes by or even commends them.”

“Video recordings of bullying and tortures are freely distributed on the Internet in order to out LGBT teens to their respective schools, parents and friends. Many victims were driven to suicides, the rest are deeply traumatized.”

There are reports that other Russian citizens have also attacked openly LGBTQ persons in public areas, while onlookers do nothing to prevent the violence from occurring. Several government officials have denounced and degraded LGBTQ people on television and in other media.

Sadly, groups of Russian Christians have been reported as participating in some of these public attacks (CBS report).

(For more information: CNNThe Guardian, CBS News)

 

LOVEboldly condemns these and any acts of violence against the LGBTQ community. 
Be sure to watch for a future blog post where we provide practical ways you can help the LGBTQ community in Russia as well as other places where this violence is occurring. 

 

Even the Christian who cannot feel comfortable supporting or protecting LGBTQ relationships should be appalled by the brutality to the community (and for that matter – brutality to any person as we are all made in the image of God.

 

At LOVEboldly we embrace controversy, dissenting opinions and even a good debate now and then. However, we also value civility, kindness, and respect. Therefore, please feel free to share your opinion, but keep it constructive, considerate, and civilized. If you choose to be rude we will delete your comment. Do so consistently and we will ban you. And yes, we do get to define the terms.

Happy New Year from LOVEboldly

Happy New Year, one and all!  Here’s a LOVEboldly recap on 2012, a personal note from me on what this year has held (both personally and for us as an organization), me sharing what I’m most proud of, information on upcoming events (dates, times, etc.), and how you can help us have a successful trip to GCN (still need to raise $250 in the next week).

Read more here!

What are S.A.F.E. meetings?

Many of you may already know this, but LOVEboldly hosts S.A.F.E. (Sexuality & Faith Engagements) the first Monday of every month. Often, I have been asked about the purpose of these gatherings and why they matter. So, here is the answer:

First of all, we can’t take the credit for the idea of hosting these meetings. The Marin Foundation began them (called Living in Tension Gatherings) several years ago in Chicago. The idea comes from a line in Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail: “But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word ‘tension.’ I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth.”

As you can see for yourself, our world is polarized when it comes to the topic of homosexuality. Both sides of the issue are guilty of talking past each other rather than dialoging with one another. As a result, each side demonizes ‘the other’ and the divide deepens, resulting in abusive language and behavior towards those with whom we disagree.

At LOVEboldly, we are persuaded that agreement with one another’s political, theological, moral, or philosophical perspectives is not essential for restoring dignity and communicating with kindness and respect. We want to bring all types of people (non-Christian LGBTs, LGBT Christians, celibates, ex-gays, liberal and conservative straight Christians, straight non-Christians, etc.) together to willfully enter into a place of constructive tension, and seek to intentionally form a community that peacefully and productively takes on the most divisive topics of faith and sexuality.

The goal of our gatherings is not for people to convince others that they are right and ‘the other’ is wrong, but rather work off of a worldview enhancement model. We want to provide a place where people can feel safe to not only share their experiences and beliefs with ‘the other’ but also learn to excel in constructive tension with those they disagree. We seek to make it an active engagement in learning what relationship with ‘the other’ tangibly looks like.

If you live or are visiting the Lexington area, we would love to see you at one of our gatherings. Remember, they are held on the first Monday of each month, beginning at 7:00 pm. Please feel free to email us at loveboldlynow@gmail.com for more information.