From the Long Beach Post:
With memories of the 2014 Winter Olympics still lingering, it behooves us to keep in mind the horrific anti-LGBT climate in Russia. Unfortunately, there will be no “closing ceremony” for this homophobia. Indeed, President Vladimir Putin has stoked this bigotry, saying as recently as January 17 that gay people would be safe if they “leave the children in peace.” The irony is that LGBT Russians contributed to the pro-democracy movement that helped bring Putin to power (and that his authoritarianism has betrayed). What’s remarkable about this history is that it goes all the way back to the fall of the Soviet Union. How do I know? Because I was there. Given that I have made Long Beach my home for 17 years, and more broadly that Long Beach remains a sister city to Sochi, it seems appropriate to share this history here, as a reminder that LGBT Russians deserve full rights and respect. [Tom Boellstorff is Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Irvine.]

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