- Russian lawmaker Vitaly Milonov hosts a actuality Tv exhibit that makes contestants guess which of them is gay.
- Whichever “I’m Not Homosexual” contestant guesses properly wins 2 million rubles, or $29,000 USD.
- The display fits neatly into the Kremlin’s narrative of Russia’s cultural superiority, a single professional advised Insider.
A Russian truth Tv present titled “I am Not Homosexual,” hosted by 1 of the country’s most notorious anti-homosexual politicians, is drawing scrutiny and abhorrence from western media retailers amid the country’s more and more authoritarian crackdown on LGBTQ rights.
“I’m Not Homosexual” pits eight contestants in opposition to one yet another in a sequence of games centered around masculine stereotypes and homophobic humor, to figure out which one of them is homosexual. The contestant who the right way identifies their homosexual peer wins two million rubles, or $29,000 USD, and the gay contestant wins the revenue if he will make it as a result of the video games undetected.
The exhibit appears to be common amid Russian audiences, and could conveniently be dismissed as lowbrow leisure. For instance, a person of the difficulties will involve acquiring lap dances from each feminine and male strippers, though the relaxation of the contestants check out. Yet another obstacle requires contestants achieving through what appears to be a glory hole, and groping scantily clad males and girls.
But just one specialist told Insider the show is a lot more than just trash Tv set — it gives a interesting examine of Russia’s attitudes in direction of both equally homosexuality and masculinity, and serves a twin purpose as each a cultural weapon in opposition to Russia’s western adversaries, and a distraction from the nation’s economic hardships and its invasion of Ukraine.
The 1st two episodes, which had been shared on YouTube prior to currently being taken down for “violating YouTube’s coverage on harassment and bullying,” racked up in excess of 1 million views and 500,000 sights, respectively.
Dan Healey, a professor of modern Russian record at the University of Oxford’s St Antony’s School, reported homophobia in Russia is usually employed as a political machine — and “I am Not Homosexual” matches neatly into the Kremlin’s narrative of Russia’s cultural superiority.
“It is element of a broader technique to wage tradition wars to distract persons from more major matters,” Healey told Insider in an interview. “But also to affirm some thing about Russia — that it is really diverse from Europe and the West, and that it has its individual values and perception program.”
It’s turning out to be more and more harmful to be openly homosexual in Putin’s Russia
Russian media specialists formerly informed Insider that much of Russian propaganda depends on hanging a comparison with Western nations — it normally portrays Russia as morally exceptional, in distinction with the supposed debauchery and surplus of Western nations.
The demonstrate “I’m Not Gay” is a politically significant case in point of that propaganda, Healey said. One of the co-hosts is Vitaly Milonov, a member of the condition Duma and a considerably-suitable lawmaker identified for orchestrating Russia’s notorious 2013 regulation banning “gay propaganda.”
“My title is Vitaly Milonov and I am for sure not homosexual,” Milonov introduces himself in the series’ 1st episode, which is titled “7 Fellas and 1 Gay.” “Every single day I will try to support our contestants discover that homosexual weak link among the them. This will be an appealing exhibit.”
The exhibit also arrives at a time when Russia’s hostility towards the LGBTQ group seems to be escalating. Just previous month, a St. Petersburg court dissolved the country’s most notable LGBTQ rights corporation, identified as the Russian LGBT Community.
The Russian govt had accused the Russian LGBT Network’s father or mother firm of illegally carrying out “political functions making use of foreign house,” as perfectly as advertising and marketing “LGBT sights,” in accordance to NBC News.
Healey informed Insider he expects the Putin regime’s homophobia to escalate more than time, and thinks it will only become extra tricky in the coming months and decades for LGBT organizations to run within the country.
“The potential appears to be like extremely bleak, truly,” he said. “Young generations coming up will be increasing up in a a great deal additional hostile environment.”
Healey said the hyper-masculinity that Putin has come to be regarded for exuding in his general public appearances — aggressive, robust, and bodily — has develop into the normal that Russian males look for to dwell up to. These who will not comply may well be left left with no alternative but to flee the region, he said.
“Russia appears to be addicted to a specifically toxic kind of masculinity,” Healey said. “It can be really harmful for adult men who you should not want to conform or won’t be able to conform, or cannot measure up… Noticeable nonconformity to a very rigid masculinity common is hazardous in Russia.”
Translations by Nikita Angarski.