James Kirchick wants you to know he is a very brave fellow. From a cozy Swedish studio he dramatically pulled on some rainbow suspenders and proceeded to hector a group of journalists gathered to talk about security issues on Russia Today.
Kirchick had been asked onto RT to talk about the Snowden and Bradley Manning situations. Certainly RT, the Russian state network, has a point of view that is often at odds with American interests. This panel of journalists would likely have been another anti-American take on Snowden and Manning.
Rather than defend or even explain the broad American antipathy to Snowden-Manning — as in Kirchick’s recent column calling for Manning’s execution — he decided to throw a fit about gay rights.
Slowly and dramatically did brave James pull on his gay suspenders and began by quoting playwright Harvey Fierstein, “’Being silent in the face of evil is something we cannot do,’ and so being here on the Kremlin funded propaganda network I’m going to wear my gay pride suspenders and speak out against the horrific anti-gay legislation that Vladimir Putin signed into law and that was passed unanimously by the Russian Duma.”
The host tried to get him back on the topic of Bradley Manning. Kirchick refused. He demanded to know how the host could sleep at night when Russian journalists are “routinely harassed.” The host repeatedly told Kirchick that he ought to come to Russia and see for himself.
And this went on and on for several minutes. He literally would not shut up and said the network does nothing but lie about the United States. He said RT “has been 24-7 on Snowden and Manning” and had nothing on the new “horrific” gay law.
What Kirchick did not seem to be aware of, though one of the panelists told him, is that RT had done a panel on the gay law only a week before. On that panel were five people and only one of them supported the law that bans homosexual propaganda.
Kirchick insisted that the new law makes it illegal to speak about homosexuality in public. This is one of a series of lies that Kirchick and others are spreading about the Russian law. In fact, there is a very vocal and vibrant gay lobby in Russia. On the RT panel, in fact, were two gay men who are out and proud in Russia, one being a regular pundit on RT. One of them was the leader of an association of gay athletes and do you know what he was wearing on Russia Television? A rainbow badge with the Olympic logo.
Both of the gay men on Russia Television were openly opposed to the law, both were opposed to any boycott of Russian goods and the Olympics and both said the narrative told by those like Kirchick is false. They want Kirchick and others to know that gays live openly in Russia and speak openly about homosexuality.