Russian LGBT Activist Inspires Crowd at NYC Town Hall Meeting
“We’re kind of past the point where silence can ever protect,” Gessen told the crowd during the August 21 meeting. “At this point, the more Russians know and the Kremlin knows that the world is watching, the safer we feel on the ground.”
And Russians and the Kremlin are watching and listening to the response that has swept around the globe since Russia enacted its anti-gay propaganda law in June. The law bans any pro-LGBT statement in public or private and on the Internet. With the law, Russia has effectively criminalized being out of the closet or supporting the LGBT community.
“One of the best moments of my time was when I was in my car 10 days ago in Moscow and I turned on the radio and they were talking about the vodka boycott on every radio station,” Gessen said. “That is getting media attention. It was really, really amazing, Suddenly we’d been granted visibility that we hadn’t had in years.”
Gessen has been living in Russia for the past 20 years. Her writings are published by The New York Times and other influential media outlets. She wrote The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin, the acclaimed 2012 political biography of the current Russian president. In a recent piece for The Guardian, she explained why she and her family will be leaving Russia for good. Gessen spearheaded the writing of a public statement released by Queer Nation NY now signed by dozens of Russians and their supporters — many taking great risks by adding their names — calling for a boycott of Russian goods and the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.
The exuberant crowd also planned a demonstration targeting The Coca Cola Company, a major sponsor of the Winter Games. The demonstration will take place on Wednesday, August 28, at noon in Times Square. Visit QueerNationNY.org or our Facebook Page for further details. You may also follow us on Twitter @QueerNationNY.
The group then strategized over how to continue the Russian vodka boycott led by Andrew Miller, a Queer Nation NY member. There have been boycotts and protests on four continents since the July 22 call by many LGBT activists to boycott Russian products and the Winter Games.
Further demonstrating the boycott’s power, John Esposito, president of the newly formed Stoli USA, the U.S. subsidiary of SPI Group, the Russian company that makes and sells Stolichnaya vodka, attended the meeting. Esposito was joined by Lori J. Tieszen, the senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Stoli USA. Esposito and Tieszen were welcomed at the meeting and informed that they could comment just like any other person there by raising their hands. They chose to remain silent.
More pictures of the event may be found on the Social+Diarist Page on Facebook.
10 Notes/ Hide
- donaugusto likes this
- ime-heartt-music7 likes this
- devil---in---disguise likes this
- inc-inn-doc likes this
- dirtybeardadmike reblogged this from sugaronastick
- dirtybeardadmike likes this
- mfkopp likes this
- sugaronastick reblogged this from queernationny and added:
- ronny1009 likes this
- queernationny posted this