by Mark Segal
Russia is beginning to prove, under the leadership of President Putin, a former KGB leader, to be not only an authoritative state, but one of the most homophobic in Europe. The city of St. Petersburg and the nation itself have passed several antigay laws, including one that mandates gays cannot get permits to hold Pride events or meetings — and if they do so anyway, they risk physical attack.
Now comes the new antigay propaganda law, signed by Putin. Under the law, any LGBT person caught talking about gay rights, demonstrating for gay rights or two men or women showing affection — i.e., holding hands — can be arrested. Think it’s just a joke? Ask the people who have already been hauled off to jail, including four Dutch tourists. They were eventually deported. Giving credit where it’s due, actor/writer Harvey Fierstein first made an issue of Russia’s policies, followed by Dan Savage of the “It Gets Better Project.” Then, HRC does what it does best: puts out a press release. Now I’m a supporter of HRC, but their press release was a little strange. They publicly called on NBC to use its clout, since it has the broadcast rights to the Russian 2014 Winter Olympics. I found that a little strange since HRC already has a line of communication open with NBC and its parent company, Comcast (I’m a member of the Comcast Joint Diversity Board and know this personally). Broadcast is usually an issue of another organization, GLADD. Finally, if they had realized point one, they would have discovered that NBC is obliged by not only legal issues but is also a highly regulated business that deals in news and international trade, so it was in its best interests to work behind the scenes with the International Olympic Committee and the Obama administration quietly. But press releases are very important to HRC. On the other side of the scale were the thousands of gay businesses that took it upon themselves from coast to coast to toss Stoli liquor and other Russian-made products out of their bars and businesses. That action, which should be highly praised, along with behind-the-scenes diplomatic work, started to get results by weekend’s end. Russian officials told IOC that the ban would not be used during the Olympics. Stoli has issued numerous press releases themselves — as good as the HRC press releases on the same subject, meaning not at all. So, LGBT bars, thumbs up. HRC, learn diplomacy or learn how to communicate with those you have relationships with. And let’s remember that President Obama will be meeting with Putin in September. I’m sure it will be one of their topics of communication, but this comes at a bad time since there’s this guy named Snowden living in the airport transit area in Moscow. Mark Segal, PGN publisher, is the nation’s most-award-winning commentator in LGBT media. He can be reached at
Time to get Mark Segal a walker and some oxygen for his brain
Mark Segal of Philadelphia Gay News has finally proven beyond all doubt that he has some sort of senility wrapped firmly around his brain. He made the statement in his latest editorial that President Putin of Russia is beginning to show that it’s the most authoritative and most homophobic in Europe?!?!?!
First of all, Mark, let’s give you a geography lesson: Russia is part of the Eurasian Continent, you schmuck!
Second, Putin and Russia have been doing this crap since the fall of the Berlin Wall. Where have you been; in some drunken stupor?
Just when I think Segal has played every joker in the deck, he manages to load the deck on me.
Now let’s address the Stolli vodka issue and the maligning of a product that has no roots in Russia.
Stolli vodka is manufactured in Belgium which is that little tiny fly-speck of a nation in the middle of France. They’re members of the European Union and in order to be part of the EU they had to sign the charter which stands for equality for all people including the LGBT people and Stolli in fact has a company policy of non-discrimination against the LGBT community.
So just because some ding-bat once saw a movie about the Cold War relations between the U.S. and former Soviet Union that showed Russian people chugging gallons of vodka and doing the Bolshevik cha-cha until they passed out doesn’t mean that every single vodka is made in Russia even if it has a Russian name!
In this case, Dan Savage started the lunacy and Segal just put his hands on the hips of the guy in front of him but still, you would think that “the nation’s most-award-winning commentator in LGBT media” would be smart enough to at least Google the company and find out that home page for the company is done in rainbow colors and professes that “We have always supported the LGBT and Stolli and all our sub-brands give backing to every Gay Pride event in America and have for the past 20 years!”
Way to go Savage and Segal! Let’s piss on another pride sponsor!
As far as coverage of the Olympics is concerned; Why not take that bribe of a job with Comcast you have and put it to some good use instead of sitting on your ass and taking in all those free perks like autographed Glee memorabilia and try putting pressure on Comcast/NBC to halt the coverage of the U.S. Olympics? They did hire you to lookout for the best interests of the LGBT community, didn’t they? Sure you’ll buy the Canadian vodka instead of the Belgium brand but you won’t use a valuable position to pressure them to strike a blow for the best approach, you recommend we call the worse-than-horrible GLAAD?
The buck obviously never stops at your desk, huh, Mark? It sure does when you want to take credit for the Gay Liberation Front reunion marchers at New York Gay Pride or when a few units break ground for senior LGBT people when the majority of our community won’t be able to afford them (in Philadelphia), and you just love doing something really stupid like getting banned from the White House for flipping the bird at the official portrait of Ronald Reagan. If credit is to be had then you’re right there, Mark, but if something screws up then you’re nowhere to be seen or you deny everything.
I’ve got a great idea, Mark. Why don’t you get a huge rainbow flag painted across your naked body and fly to Moscow and once you get off the plane, use your pull to get an interview with Putin and once you get in front of the press corps, pull your clothes off and tell him your flag is now showing and your penis is the flagpole and if he gives you a few minutes you can get “Old Glory” to wave for him! If you need help I’m sure Viagra is available there, too.
That should make the whole gay ban just magically go away because Mark Segal is on the case now!
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