Russia fomenting discord over guns, gays, race

By : Lou Chibbaro Jr OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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A 29-year-old Russian woman living in D.C. who was indicted last week for allegedly engaging in a conspiracy to clandestinely act as a Russian agent is part of a longstanding effort by Moscow to foment discord in the U.S. by exploiting divisive issues such as guns, LGBT rights, and racial bias, according to a source close to the investigation into the woman’s activities.

After hearing evidence presented by federal prosecutors, a D.C. grand jury on July 17 indicted Maria Butina on charges of criminal conspiracy and illegally acting as a foreign agent within the U.S. A U.S. District Court judge the following day ordered her held without bond after prosecutors said she had moved out of her D.C. apartment and was at risk for leaving the country.

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Stephen Colbert’s ‘homophobic’ Donald Trump joke sparks #FireColbert campaign

By : MARIAH COOPER OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL GAY MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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“Late Show” host Stephen Colbert gave his usual roast of President Donald Trump on Monday night but his opening monologue included a joke that some people deemed homophobic.

Colbert skewered Trump in response to the president’s White House interview with CBS reporter John Dickerson on “Face the Nation,” which came to an abrupt end. Trump called the program “Deface the Nation” and “fake news” before leaving the interview.

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State Department releases 2016 human rights report

By : MICHAEL K. LAVERS of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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The State Department’s annual human rights report that it released last week notes discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity were commonplace throughout many parts of the world in 2016.

The report notes René Martínez, a prominent LGBT rights advocate in the violence-plagued Honduran city of San Pedro Sula, was killed in June after he left his home. It also highlights Hande Kader, a transgender sex worker and activist who was found dead in Istanbul in August.

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Trump’s pick for top diplomat breaks from him in many ways

By : Wire Report
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WASHINGTON (AP)  Rex Tillerson’s foreign policy isn’t sounding much like Donald Trump’s.

At his confirmation hearing Wednesday, the former Exxon Mobil CEO selected by Trump for secretary of state called Russia a “danger” and vowed to protect America’s European allies. He rejected the idea of an immigration ban on Muslims. He treaded softly on the human rights records of key U.S. partners like Saudi Arabia.

In the words of Sen. Bob Corker, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s GOP chairman, Tillerson “demonstrated that he’s very much in the mainstream of foreign policy thinking.” But doing so forced Tillerson to break with several of the president-elect’s most iconoclastic statements on diplomacy and international security.

Again and again, Tillerson hewed more closely to long-standing, bipartisan positions on America’s role in the world, and who are its friends and foes.

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Elton John hopes for future meeting with Vladimir Putin

By : Wire Report
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Moscow (AP) – Elton John regrets he didn’t get to meet President Vladimir Putin during his current trip to Moscow, but says he’s looking forward to meeting the Russian leader in the future to discuss LGBT issues.

Performing May 30 before an enthusiastic crowd at a Moscow concert hall, the British rock star thanked Putin for inviting him to “discuss some serious issues in Russia, including LGBT and HIV and AIDS,” expressing hope they could eventually meet.

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Anti-gay laws spark international responses

By : Samantha Rosenthal
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The Olympic Symbol is five intertwined rings—blue, gold, black, green and red—that represent the unity of each of the Earth’s five continents. Traditionally, the event has been a time for nations of the world to come together to compete in a friendly and welcoming environment.

However, Winter Olympics 2014 host country Russia is under scrutiny for its decidedly anti-LGBT acts as the lens of the nation focuses on the games in Sochi, and president Vladimir Putin is unmoved toward making change to the anti-gay “propaganda” laws he has passed within the last year, which would serve as a gag rule on the existence of LGBTs, punishable by hefty fines and jail time.

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Attacks on rise in Russia after anti-gay law passed in 2013

By : Samantha Rosenthal
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LGBTs have often been a target of violence in Russia, garnering the attention of human rights groups around the world.

But since the country passed its newest law banning gay “propaganda” last fall, those attacks have increased, according to the Russian LGBT Network.

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Crueler Ruler: The argument FOR boycotting the Olympics on TV

By : Ken Kundis
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KenKundisHeadshotIn 1976, I was ten years old and Bruce Jenner was my hero.

Of course this was before his connection with the dreadful Kardashians, the shaved adam’s apple, the “Rachel” haircut, and the Sophia Lauren sunglasses. Back then, he was an uber-stud of the first order. If I close my eyes, I can still see the video of him waving the American flag during his victory lap after winning the ‘76 Decathlon, officially anointing him as the Greatest Athlete in the World.

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No response from Putin to Florida mayors on LGBT rights

By : Jamie Hyman
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According to Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer’s office, there is still no response from Vladimir Putin in response to a strongly-worded letter urging the Russian president to repeal the country’s harsh anti-gay law.

The letter was signed by Dyer, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman and Tallahassee Mayor John Marks and sent in late January. All three cities have sister cities in Russia: the City of Orenburg for Orlando, the City of Krasnodar for Tallahassee and the city of St. Petersburg for St. Petersburg.

Read a full copy of the letter after the jump:

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Olympics opens the doors for activisim on anti-gay Russian laws

By : Wire Report
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NEW YORK (AP) – Despite seven months of international outcry, Russia’s law restricting gay-rights activity remains in place. Yet the eclectic protest campaign has heartened activists in Russia and caught the attention of its targets – including organizers and sponsors of the Sochi Olympics that open on Feb. 7.

Over the past two weeks, two major sponsors, Coca-Cola and McDonald’s, have seen some of their Sochi-related social media campaigns commandeered by gay-rights supporters who want the companies to condemn the law. Several activists plan to travel to Sochi, hoping to team up with sympathetic athletes to protest the law while in the Olympic spotlight.

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Elton John supports Russian people, denounces anti-gay laws

By : Wire Report
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NEW YORK (AP) – Entertainer-songwriter Elton John is declaring his support of the Russian people, and he says they still accept him despite that country’s harsh new anti-gay law.

Passed last year, the so-called “gay propaganda” law bans promotion of “non-traditional sexual relations” to minors.

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Russian president claims gay Olympians safe, but links gays to pedophiles

By : Wire Report
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MOSCOW (AP) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has offered new assurances to gay athletes and fans attending the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics next month. Yet he defended Russia’s anti-gay law by equating gays with pedophiles and said Russia needs to “cleanse” itself of homosexuality if it wants to increase its birth rate.

Putin’s comments in an interview broadcast Jan. 19 with Russian and foreign television stations showed the wide gulf between the perception of homosexuality in Russia versus the West.

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