Already known for their beyond-abysmal treatment for LGBTQ citizens, Russia is once again showing that the community is beyond unwelcome. Vitaly Molonov (already firmly established as a strongly anti-LGBTQ former Russian Prime Minister) is presenting a new game show of his own, with an alarming and massively offensive premise. The game show is titled “I’m Not Gay” and the contestants are charged with finding out which one of them is actually gay (you can watch the first episode here). As each episode concludes, the eight contestants in the competition have to vote out the contestant that they think is the gay contestant. The prize of two million rubies (£21,000) awaits the men to share if they are able to guess correctly, and if the gay man makes it through the competition unidentified, he will be the contestant to take the money home.
Molonov was a Member of the State Duma and already had a reputation as extremely far-right and is actually credited with authoring the country’s most stringent anti-gay propaganda law. His ominous and bigoted feelings towards the LGBTQ community definitely bleed into his role on “I’m Not Gay”. Molonov says things like “Finding a gay in our country is like finding a working McDonald’s,” They definitely exist but there are very few of them and not everyone knows about them.” At the conclusion of episode one when the incorrect person is voted out, Molonov says that they had “killed an innocent person”.
Russia laws continue to be extreme and steadfastly against the LGBTQ community in every way. Same sex marriage remains legal and and continues to be a crime to promote a “homosexual lifestyle” to minors in Russia. The Human Rights Watch interviewed a number of youth in Russia, where they indicated that they had (according to HRW) intense feelings of isolation, which they attributed to persistent anti-LGBT rhetoric and hostile social attitudes. Their sense of isolation was exacerbated, they said, by the “gay propaganda” law. Additionally, coming out is not necessarily the primary issue, but it is finding accurate and true information about both gender and sexuality in this extremely bigoted environment.
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