Mark Joseph Stern flags a study on the perils of being gay in Russia:
[A] study published in Harvard University’s Health and Human Rights journal confirms what myriad horrific anecdotes suggest: Gay people in Russia are being beaten, raped, and murdered at record rates—and the government is doing little to stop it.
The issue of violence against gays in Russia is, of course, nothing new. Before the passage of the new federal measure, several regional governments passed identical laws, stripping gay citizens of legal rights and human dignity. More than half of Russian gays reported psychological abuse, while 16 percent experienced physical assault, and 7 percent were raped. Yet 77 percent also reported complete distrust of the police, leaving most anti-gay crimes unreported.
Putin’s law has only darkened this already bleak picture. By putting the government’s stamp of approval on rampant Russian homophobia, Putin effectively declared opened season on gay people.
He acknowledges that “Putin didn’t introduce homophobia to Russia” but thinks his “crusade against the gay community has direly exacerbated the country’s already suffocating haze of anti-gay bigotry and ignorance.”
(Photo: A Russian gay rights activist stands in front of Russian State Duma building on January 22, 2013 after being punched during a protest in Moscow. By Andrey Smirnov/AFP/Getty Images)