You know it’s never going to be a boring call when you see the name “Dan Choi” on your caller ID.
I knew Dan was off to Russia for Pride, he called me the other day while I was out walking the dog, and said he was invited by the Russian organizers of their once-again-banned Pride to participate in this year’s illegal celebration.
So Dan was off to Russia. (But only after convincing a US judge that he wasn’t “fleeing” to Russia to escape his upcoming court date for handcuffing himself to the White House gates to protest DADT. Someone needs to explain to the judge that gays don’t “flee” to Moscow. We flee to Paris.)
Pride is this coming Saturday, and the parade is banned, again, by the Russian authorities. But they’re marching anyway, with a growing list of international luminaries and activists. Dan told me he fully intends to get arrested and spent the night in a Russian jail, to send a message to the Russian that the world is watching.
Dan says today he went to a Russian TV studio to watch his host, lead gay Russian activists Nikolai Alekseev, be interviewed on a show that Dan called “the Russian ‘Meet the Press’.” Well, as can be expected, it was a hostile show. The audience was filled with proponents and opponents of gay rights, and apparently the show thought it would be fun to put some skinheads in the audience too (how do you say “Jerry Springer” in Russian?)
Nikolai was debating a high-ranking member of the Duma (a house of parliament), but after half an hour it descended into a discussion of whether gays raped the daughter (“in a homosexual way”) of the Russian version of Dolores Umbridge mixed with Maggie Gallagher. She’s reportedly planted on all the Russian shows dealing with gays in order to claim she’s a professor of sexology, or something, and basically slander gays. Someone else then chimed in and said violence against gays was “worthwhile.”
Nikolai had had enough, and promptly walked off the set, taking Dan and company in tow. Dan says Russian gays are very disappointed in Hillary Clinton for not issuing a statement about the ongoing human rights violation against gays in Russia. The European Court of Human Rights has already ruled against the Russians. It would be nice to see Secretary Clinton do the same.
(A quick note to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty: We don’t use the word “homosexual” anymore, unless we’re writing a scientific study (even then, only “maybe”) or unless we’re a religious right bigot interested in slandering gays. Yes, I’m sure you’ll find some gay people who will tell you “sure we still use it” – then challenge them to use it in a real sentence that they’d speak out of their own mouths, and you’ll get a blank stare. Please update your style sheets. There’s no point in having a radio show meant to promote democracy use words of oppression.)
PS Yes there’s some controversy surrounding Nikolai. You can read David Badash’s rather smart take on it here.