Monday, 10 February 2014

Homophobia in Russia - Channel 4 Documentary "Hunted"

Another negative Russia documentary of questionable timing. Channel 4 documentary last week called Hunted which documented homophobia in Russia was intended to coincide with the start of the Winter Olympics in Sochi - obviously capitalising on the international criticism of Russia on its gay rights and the new law prohibiting gay propaganda.  Setting that aside, it was an interesting programme but I found it thoroughly depressing.

It followed the groups of vigilantes, in Moscow and St Petersburg, hunting down, beating up and humiliating gay people. My overall impression was why do these people do it? Why go to such lengths - does other people's sexual identity upset them so much?  Or do they get their kicks out of it?  The documentary showed scenes of bullying, violence and humiliation - the perpetrators were obviously getting some kind of thrill out of it - enjoying the power, sexual thrill of talking about homosexual acts with their victims, sadistic pleasure in exacting humiliating punishments. It seemed obvious to me that they were in troubled by their own sexual identity, but hey, who am I to comment.

There was one man in particular, a married family man with a young child, who drove round engaging in harassment of gay people - but he was a jewellery designer! I thought, oh oh, hello - here is someone in denial.

I don 't want to get all moral relativist here, but it does seem to me, coming from a culture in the UK of widespread tolerance, acceptance of LGBT lifestyles, and indeed the recognition in law of gay marriages, that such developments are positive and not indicators of our moral decay. This has to be the right way.  The views of some of the Russian Orthodox priests and others in the documentary are morally repugnant, simplistic and backward.

One hopes that they are not representative of the country at large - I'm sure they are not.

No comments:

Post a comment