Harvey Fierstein Pens 'Times' Op-Ed on Russian Anti-Gay Crackdown
The editorial is based on a recent law signed by Russian president Vladimir V. Putin on July 3rd which placed a ban on the adoption of Russian-born children by gay couples or "any couple or single parent living in any country where marriage equality exists in any form." In addition, the politician approved a law which will permit Russian police officers to "arrest tourists and foreign nationals they suspect of being homosexual, lesbian or 'pro-gay' and detain them for up to 14 days."
With the country playing host to the 2014 Winter Games in just six months, the new laws present the very real possibility that an Olympic athlete, trainer, reporter, family member or fan who is gay or is suspected of being gay, can wind up in a Russian prison. The latest decrees are among a slew of other recent laws which attempt to criminalize homosexuality in the Eastern European nation.
Putin defends his actions by citing that Russian families are currently facing the threat of decline and must therefore prevent the marriage of gay and lesbian couples who cannot propagate and do their part to increase the country's population.
Yet Fierstein calls these explanations "scapegoating" and maintains that they have historically been used by politicians to "solidify their bases and draw attention away from their failing policies." He adds, "Mr. Putin's campaign against lesbian, gay and bisexual people is one of distraction, a strategy of demonizing a minority for political gain taken straight from the Nazi playbook. Can we allow this war against human rights to go unanswered?"
Fierstein is the book writer of the 2013 Tony Award-winning musical Kinky Boots. He is also the author of the current Broadway hit Newsies as well as Torch Song Trilogy (Tony and Drama Desk and OBIE Awards), La Cage aux Folles (Tony and Drama Desk Awards), The Sissy Duckling (Humanitas Award), A Catered Affair (12 Drama Desk nominations), Safe Sex (Ace Award),Legs Diamond, Spookhouse, Flatbush Tosca, Common Ground and more.
His political editorials have been published in The New York Times, TV Guide, The Huffington Post, and broadcast on PBS's IN THE LIFE. His children's book, The Sissy Duckling is now in its fifth printing. As an actor Mr. Fierstein is known worldwide for his performances in films like Mrs. Doubtfire and Independence Day, and on stage in Hairspray (Tony Award), Fiddler On The Roof, La Cage aux Folles, Torch Song Trilogy (Tony Award) and television shows such as "How I Met Your Mother," "American Family," "Cheers" (Emmy nomination), "The Simpsons" and "Nurse Jackie."
Photo credit: Oliver Oliveros