How Will Russian Authorities Deal with a Same-Sex Kiss?
How will Russian authorities deal with a same-sex kiss, now that two female Russian athletes have kissed on the winner's podium at the World Athletics Championships in Moscow? Many have wondered if the kiss was a protest or another misunderstanding.
According to Gay Star News, some speculate that a kiss between Tatyana Firova and Kseniya Ryzhova was a political statement. The gold medalists kissed each other on the lips after winning the 4x400-meter relay at the sporting event.
Like the Swedish athletes who competed with rainbow-colored painted fingernails, some believe the kiss was a sign of protest against Russia's "homosexual propaganda" law that aims to protect the the country's youth from believing that same-sex relationships are "equal" to "traditional" relationships.
Others say the kiss was nothing more than a simple congratulatory sign of affection.
On Tuesday, the Associated Press reported that the Russian sprinters insisted the display of affection was not a protest against the country's controversial anti-gay law.
"The storm of emotions going through us was incredible. And if we, accidentally, while congratulating each other, touched lips, excuse me. We think the whole fuss is more of a sick fantasy not grounded in anything," Ryzhovva said.
Last week, Yelena Isinbayeva, was one of the first Russian athletes to speak out on the Russian law, which has gained international attention. She defended the laws of her country in one statement then turned around and amended what she said, claiming she was misunderstood.
"If we allow to promote and do all this stuff on the street, we are very afraid about our nation because we consider ourselves like normal, standard people," Isinbayeva said, speaking in English in her original statement. "We just live with boys with woman, woman with boys."
She later "clarified" her statements and said, "English is not my first language and I think I may have been misunderstood... What I wanted to say was that people should respect the laws of other countries particularly when they are guests."
Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko blames the western media for blowing gay rights issues at the Sochi Olympics out of proportion. Lawmakers, like Mutko, say the law will help protect Russian children from alcoholism, drug use and gay relationships.
"In my view, Western media, media outside Russia, give more attention to this than we do in Russia," Mutko said. "I think this is kind of an invented problem. We don’t have a law banning non-traditional sexual relations, we have a different law."
He explained that it LGBT adults were not discriminated against in Russia but that leaders simply wanted to assure "the informational protection of the young generation."
"We want to prevent the young generation, whose psyche has not been formulated," he said according to Reuters.
"We want to protect them against drunkenness, drugs and non-traditional sexual relations. We want them to grow up and when they become adults they have to define what they want."