My heart is so sad when I think about what's going on in Russia right now. The violence against gay people is wrong, in and of itself, but it is also a piece of something larger. There is a propaganda campaign going on right now against "outsiders" and gay Russians are victims. So are the 300 children who met American parents who wanted to adopt them, but probably never will.
I don't know how far this will go. I'm not sure if we're playing into Putin's hands by protesting these laws. But this violence--state-sanctioned violence--cannot continue. I speak not only of those who have already been physically assaulted (again, a crime in its own right) but also of those who are hiding--adults who are in the closet and children who may not yet understand their sexuality, or worse, who do understand it but must live in a country where the adults express such violent hate for them, and where those adults who understand that homosexuality is just another orientation are commanded by the force of law to keep quiet.
In later years we will hear stories of the brave people who are acting in Russia right now. The teachers who are passing a quiet word or signal to their gay students letting them know that they're okay. The activists who are working quietly behind the scenes to make change, or to help people leave the country. The future martyrs who will keep fighting openly despite the danger.
I am sad for the victims. I am sad for those who are too afraid to live openly. I am sad for anyone who wants to do the right thing but doesn't know how. I am sad for the children who will never know families because of this, and for those who may lose their families if the laws keep tightening. And I am sad for the children like mine who look at the land of their birth and wonder why anyone would stop people from loving each other. Why can't adults who love each other live openly in love? Why can't families who love children adopt them?
Children don't understand "political gain." We can't explain to them that Putin is raising pogroms against gay people and keeping children from finding families to drum up support from his base. They just see the pain he is causing.
Today is the Global Speak Out for Russia. People around the world are protesting on behalf of the people of Russia who are prohibited from speaking out in favor of gay rights. I was not able to attend a protest so I am protesting here. Russia, your problems are not caused by "outsiders," but by your own politics. Give up your war against gay people and Americans wishing to adopt. Solve your own problems. The world has spoken.