GayRussia leader Nikolai Alekseev walked off the set of a national TV debate show this afternoon after accusing the moderator, Vladimir Solovyev, of slanting the show towards homophobes. The show has been described to me as sort of like “Meet the Press,” except that millions of people actually watch it.
Alekseev was debating Alexander Hinstein, a deputy in the State Duma (parliament) and member of Vladir Putin’s United Russia Party. The last straw was when Solovyev, host of the nationally broadcast show, Poednivo (roughly “The Dual” in English), called on an audience member who accused gays of physically threatening her young daughter.
Alekseev tore off his microphone and walked off as the cameras rolled. Shortly thereafter, the LGBT members of the audience also walked out.
The topic of the debate was whether or not LGBTs have the legal right to assemble and protest. It is emblematic of how far our movement has to go in this country that we are basically debating our existence, and a prominent leader of the ruling party has the chutzpah to say “No!”
Late tonight I expect to have a video statement of Lt. Dan Choi explaining why he came to Russia and why he supports Moscow Pride – stay tuned for a link!
On Saturday, GayRussia will host Moscow Pride, despite the ban on the protest by the Russian authorities. Choi and I will be proud to participate, showing that LGBT solidarity knows no borders.