The Supreme Court of the Russian Federation issued a ruling Nov. 30 that banned the “international LGBT public movement,” calling this movement for basic civil rights “extremist.” If convicted of “extremism,” a member of the LGBTQ+ community could face up to six years imprisonment. Within days of the court ruling, Russian police reportedly raided LGBTQ+ bars in Moscow.
This follows a decade of anti-LGBTQ+ acts by the Russian government, including a ban on gender reassignment surgery enacted by Parliament last June.
LGBTQ+ activists around the world are, understandably, outraged over this new law.
However, the LGBTQ+ movement must be careful not to let its outrage be weaponized by the imperialist state and media, and channeled into support for the U.S./NATO war in Ukraine. On the contrary, the movement can play a significant role in exposing the hypocrisy of U.S. imperialism’s condemnation of Russia’s anti-LGBTQ+ policies.
The U.S. State Department’s 2022 report on human rights practices in Russia states that, “the Russian Federation has a highly centralized, authoritarian political system dominated by President Vladimir Putin.” It claims there are “crimes involving violence or threats of violence targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex persons.” (state.gov)
If you didn’t know better, you might think that LGBTQ2S+ people in the U.S. are not subject to hate crimes or bigoted laws.
Far from it.
The American Civil Liberties Union reports that there are 507 anti-trans and homophobic laws that have been introduced in state legislatures. Some have been passed, some defeated and some are still under consideration. All but three states — New York, Illinois and Delaware — have at least one bigoted bill in some stage of the legislative process.
These bills, many of them targeting transgender youth, have contributed to the climate of violence facing trans people, especially trans women of color. This past Nov. 20, Trans Day of Remembrance, 33 anti-trans murders during the previous year were acknowledged. This may well be an undercount.
Nor are things ideal in Ukraine, which the U.S. and NATO are supporting against Russia. Same-sex couples are barred from marrying and adopting children. The LGBTQ+ community has been violently attacked by right-wing gangs. Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has had the backing of pro-Nazi groupings in Ukraine.
Whether in Russia, Ukraine or the imperialist West, the roots of anti-LGBTQ+ oppression are the same: class society. Oppression is a built-in feature wherever capitalism is the dominant mode of production.
War is also in capitalism’s DNA. The U.S. is waging war against Russia in order to subdue its capitalist rival. It has nothing to do with the worldwide fight for LGBTQ+ civil rights.
Likewise, the LGBTQ+ community should have nothing to do with the imperialist war machine!
Justice can be achieved in a socialist society. After the Russian Revolution, along with establishing legal rights for women, the Bolsheviks eliminated the Tsarist regime’s anti-gay laws. Socialist Cuba’s 2022 Family Code — the “law of love” — protects the rights of LGBTQ+ people and their relationships.
No to bigotry! No to imperialist war!