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Gay Russians Have It Rough, But They’re Not the Only Ones Struggling

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A new report takes a deep look at life in the Olympics host country. 

With the opening of the Sochi Olympics looming, the ever-vigilant media gadflies have been focusing in on all the juicy atrocity that Russia holds, or so it seems. Though daily headlines run with stories concerning the rising conflict of gay civil rights in an intolerant Russia, according to the extensive, excellent reporting by Out's Chadwich Moore, that attention doesn't, or shouldn't, belong to the gay community alone. 

While chatting with an outspoken gay activist and veteran human rights worker named Margaret, Moore learned that in Russia, life offers more struggles than just the 'back-alley stairwells and unmarked doors' that keep the gay community alive. 

"I've traveled a lot around Russia, and the average 20-year-old, she's gone through two gang rapes and two abortions…So when gay friends tell me it's so hard for gays, I say it's not hard for gays. It's hard for anybody," Margaret tells Moore.

This, and other such cruelties, have become eclipsed by the outrage over the gay propaganda laws that Russia has put into place. While such laws seem heinous to anyone with a Western sensibility, the people living through it don't seem to care all that much. 

Speaking with a gay man living in Russia who identified as Zach, Moore learned that, "Russia is really good at enacting laws, but the people just do whatever they want. This country is lawless. There is a disconnect between society and politics. The propaganda law is disgraceful in what it represents, but the practical effect is still yet to be seen."

The point of the article seems to be that Westerners can't understand the struggles of modern Russia, whether they are gay or otherwise, and focusing on the gay conflict isn't making it go away. Moore writes, "Yet when the Olympics come there will be, inevitably, some activist waving a rainbow flag on camera. The West will cheer and pat itself on the back, while the whole of Russia will say, 'What a nice flag. I wonder what it means?'" 

Image via Out