Confronting hate in Mother Russia
by David-Elijah Nahmod
The recent documentary Campaign of Hate: Russia and Gay Propaganda comes to DVD courtesy of Lucas Documentaries, a subsidiary of gay porn studio Lucas Entertainment. Gay porn superstar Michael Lucas serves as the producer on Campaign of Hate. He's also the journalist who courageously traveled to his native Russia to film this no-holds-barred look at the dangers facing the Russian LGBT community.
Those who might hesitate to take Lucas seriously due to his adult-film notoriety might want to think again. Lucas is a superb interviewer who asks his subjects tough and intelligent questions. He puts a face on the besieged LGBT community in Russia, and exposes the magnitude of the problem. His work in Campaign of Hate is as good, if not better, than anything that might air on CNN. "The scapegoats used to be Jews," Lucas said in a press release. "But most of them left after the collapse of the Soviet Union. And so the Russians have moved on to the LGBT community, which coincides well with Putin's cynical campaign of Russian nationalism."
Interviewees include lesbian journalist Masha Gessen, who lives in Russia with her partner and their two children. The kids talk on camera, expressing their deep sadness and bewilderment that anyone would be against the loving family they're part of. Gessen, who has reported from the front lines of war zones without fear, is suddenly fearful – Putin wants to take children away from LGBT-identified parents. The family may move to New York so they can stay together.
"It's unusual not to have been gay-bashed," says one young man. Several bashing victims tell of police apathy as a collage of everyday Russian citizens, interviewed on a Moscow street, express their intense dislike of all LGBT people.
Lucas shows great courage, strength, and restraint during a sit-down interview with Vitaly Milonov, a Russian lawmaker. Milonov uses words like "sick" and "filthy" to describe LGBT people as he states point-blank that most LGBTs are pedophiles.
It all began with the passing of Russia's "gay propaganda" law in June 2013. It is now a criminal offense in that country to present homosexuality in a positive light to anyone under 18. While some community members want to flee the country, others are determined to stay and fight. A small but hearty band of gay men and lesbians stages a kiss-in on a city street, and are promptly beaten while the police look the other way. An LGBT film festival receives bomb threats.
Campaign of Hate is a terrifying film that shines a light on the truth. It's happening not only in Russia, but also in Iraq, Iran, and other countries. With several American red states now passing "right to discriminate" bills, it could happen here as well.