Sunday, January 26

AK Soufflé: Behind bars

- April 24, 2017


For many years the pink triangle was the symbol used to signify that something or someone was homosexual. You saw it on T shirts, on the doors of bars and shops, it was a kind of code and one, that in many ways, has been replaced by the ubiquitous rainbow flag, the cover all for all thing LGBTQ+.

But perhaps there are people out there who are too young to remember this and way too young to remember where that pink triangle was first used. The horror is that it was the symbol chosen by the Nazi party to signify that undesirable homosexuals should be labelled with in the concentration camps – yes it’s that poignant. Poignant because right now the story is that in Chechnya there are internment camps that are imprisoning LGBTQ+ men.

In Russia now, being even clandestinely gay could see you behind bars

Of course there is denial that this is happening, but Russian LGBTQ+ groups are working very hard to raise awareness and have people freed. At the same time the Russian stance is that there are no gays in this, the most Muslim of regions. “How can we imprison people who simply do not exist?” they say. The Kremlin is also denying that there is some kind of “purge”.

So whilst here we have the freedom to stand and drink at bars, openly gay, in Russia now, being even clandestinely gay could see you behind bars, and not the ones that we can openly enjoy. This is 2017 and the world is in flux. America is still reeling at the fact that Trump managed to get elected, France is seeing a swing to the right and North Korea is shaking its fist with a serious display of military might. Here we have, by the narrowest of margins and following campaigns that on one side were parsimonious with the truth and the other were complacent to say the least, opted to shuffle awkwardly out of the European Union. What a bloody mess!

Compared though to the hideous realities of LGBTQ+ freedom in so many countries this is something that we cannot afford to be complacent about. Whilst we can shout out about pride here we need to be declaring SHAME at those countries where the simple right to express ones love is still seen as a crime.

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