Vladimir Putin is featured on the cover of The Advocate’sDecember/January issue. With the words “Person of the Year” cropped into a neat Hitler mustache on his upper-lip. The association is pretty clear and is receiving plenty of plaudits. It was revealed on MSNBC Thursday night.
In his profile of the Russian leader, Jeremy Lybarger neatly lays out his case for why Putin has made the biggest impact on the global gay community in 2014. His famous anti-gay propaganda bill and homophobic policies have made a terrible and massive impact on Russia. His “Russian purity” rhetoric, which Lybarger calls the “cornerstone of Putin’s identity,” and desire to remove the country of “undesirables” are eerily reminiscent of Hitler. His ability to whip Russian homophobia into a frenzy to further his political aims is nothing short of masterful.
In his fervor to keep Russia free of Western influences, including McDonald’s, Honey Whisky, andNGOs, Putin has introduced his anti-gay policies. Gay rights are expanding in the West, ergo Putin does the opposite.
Sadly it doesn’t seem that the situation will improve anytime soon. Lybarger quotes Julie Dorf, a senior adviser at the Council for Global Equality: “Putin’s not going away until 2024, so the situation, politically, isn’t going to change for quite some time.” Lybarger laments this, writing, “the prospect of another decade under Putin is devastating.”
Though Putin has made the biggest impact on the LGBT community this year, we can only hope that someone who has a positive influence on the community will be recognized next year as The Advocate’s “Person of the Year.”