Friday, July 26, 2013

From Autoheart to Moscow, with Love…

British band Autoheart has come up with a creative way to respond to the terrible anti-gay crisis in Russia.

But before I share it, here's how Alexander Abad-Santos, writing for the Atlantic Wire, summarizes the current situation in Russia.

Over the past few months, Russian lawmakers have made that nation increasingly hostile to homosexuals. In June, for example, President Vladimir Putin signed a law banning "gay propaganda," which not only prohibits gay pride marches but potentially sends people to prison for explaining homosexuality to children. That same month, Putin signed yet another law allowing police to jail tourists who are believed to be homosexuals. And in July, Putin signed a law that bans gay couples, among other constituencies, from adopting Russian children. BuzzFeed has a powerful series of photos starkly showing the state-sanctioned violence gay people routinely face there.

In the face of all this anti-gay violence, some are calling for a boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympics, which will take place in the southern Russian city of Sochi. Others are encouraging gay bars to stop buying Russian products, such as vodka and brandy. One bar in Chicago, The Call, has already propped up a sign that states, "proudly serving non-Russian vodkas."

And then there's Autoheart's charming song "Moscow" and its accompanying video, one which depicts (very Pierre et Gilles-like) two Russian soldiers kissing in front of the Kremlin. Here's what the band (pictured at left) says about "Moscow" on their YouTube channel:

"Moscow" is a song about the daft optimism of being in love, when you just want to run away with that person, dream about being together forever, the house, the dog, and nothing else matters.

We are lucky in Britain to have laws that mean whether we are gay, straight, bisexual or anything in between, our relationships are recognised and our rights protected by law. But in Russia there is an anti-gay crisis happening right now: their government does not want to afford their people those same rights and are trying to criminalise even the discussion of gay equality.

In our video, two gay Russian soldiers kiss in front of the Kremlin – yet just last month a group of same-sex couples in Moscow were violently attacked and then arrested for doing just this.

Wouldn't it be amazing if one day all consenting adults could be free to love who they want to without fear of persecution?


So, with Friday night periodically being 'music night' here at The Wild Reed, here for your listening and viewing pleasure is Autoheart with "Moscow." Enjoy!

Related Off-site Links:
Russia's Anti-Gay Crackdown – Harvey Fierstein (New York Times, July 21, 2013).
Russian Neo-Nazi Groups Tricking and Torturing Gay Male Teenagers: The Blood is on Putin's Hands – Adrian Garcia (The Gaily Grind, July 25, 2013).
Russian Neo-Nazis Allegedly Lure, Torture Gay Teens with Online Dating Scam – Cavan Sieczkowski (The Huffington Post, July 26, 2013).
Protests Growing Against Russian Anti-Gay Laws – Nico Bell (, July 25, 2013).
Stoli Vodka Boycotted by Gay Bars, CEO Publishes Open Letter and Queer Nation Responds – James Nichols (The Huffington Post, July 26, 2013).
Russian Gay Activists: There is ‘No Point’ Boycotting Vodka – Joe Morgan (Gay Star News, July 26, 2013).
Russia Should Learn from Britain's Record on Gay Rights – Robert Wintemute (The Guardian, July 24, 2013).
Autoheart's Official Website

UPDATES: Mr. Putin's War on Gays – Editorial Board (New York Times, July 28, 2013).
22 Russians Who We Won't Let Vladimir Putin Forget Were LGBT – Christopher Harrity (The Advocate, August 6, 2013).
Why Do Activists Reject Russian LGBT Strategies for Olympics? – Colin Stewart (, August 8, 2013).
Hundreds Protest in London Against Russian Anti-Gay Law – Costas Pitas (Reuters via Yahoo! News, August 10, 2013).
International Olympic Committee Forbids Athletes to Speak Against Russian Anti-Gay Laws – Jase Peeples (The Advocate, August 13, 2013).

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