Connect with us

News

Russian minister urges gay propaganda ban critics to ‘calm down’

Vitaly Mutko made comments during Moscow press conference

Published

on

Russia, anti-gay, gay news, Washington Blade

Russia, anti-gay, gay news, Washington Blade

Protesters gathered outside of the Russian Embassy on Wednesday, July 31, 2013. (Washington Blade photo by Damien Salas)

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko on Thursday urged critics of his country’s ban on gay propaganda to minors to “calm down.”

“I want to ask you to calm down as in addition to this law we have a constitution that guarantees all citizens a private life,” he told reporters during a press conference in Moscow as Reuters reported. “It is not intended to deprive people of any religion, race or sexual orientation, but to ban the promotion of non-traditional relations among the young generation.”

Mutko’s comments come a day after the White House cited Russia’s LGBT rights record as among the reasons that prompted President Obama to cancel a scheduled meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin that was to have taken place in Moscow before next month’s G-20 summit in St. Petersburg.

Obama earlier this week weighed in on Russia’s gay propaganda to minors ban during an appearance on NBC’s “The Tonight Show” with Jay Leno.

“I have no patience for countries that try to treat gays or lesbians or transgender persons in ways that intimate them or are harmful to them,” Obama said.

Mutko spoke to reporters amid calls to boycott the 2014 Winter Olympics that will take place in Sochi, Russia, in February.

Playwright Harvey Fierstein is among those who have urged the U.S. and other countries to skip the games. Author Dan Savage and LGBT rights advocate Cleve Jones have also called for a boycott of Russian vodka.

British actor Stephen Fry on Wednesday compared the decision to hold the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia to Nazi Germany hosting the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin. Gay actor George Takei has also urged the IOC to move the games from Sochi to another city.

Groups present petition to Russian foreign minister

Gay advocacy groups on Wednesday presented a petition with more than 340,000 signatures to the International Olympic Committee in Lausanne, Switzerland, that urges it to pressure Russian officials to protect the rights of their LGBT citizens. All Out on Thursday also delivered the petition to Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly Cherkin before he met with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in New York.

Andre Banks, executive director of All Out, also spoke with Cherkin about Russia’s LGBT rights issue for 10 minutes before the meeting.

“The ambassador seemed in-denial about Russian citizens being fined and jailed under this new anti-gay law,” Banks said in a statement. “The Russian government is endangering Russia’s international reputation, and possibly their Olympic ambitions, by not taking seriously the global outcry against these laws.”

The IOC said on July 31 it has “received assurances” from the highest levels of the Russian government the broadly worded gay propaganda to minors ban that Putin signed in June will not affect athletes and others who will attend and participate in the Sochi games. The Associated Press on August 5 reported the organization is engaged in “quiet diplomacy” with senior Russian officials, but Mutko told a Russian sports website last week the gay propaganda law will apply to those who travel to Sochi for the Olympics.

“I was in Sochi yesterday and all the athletes and organizations should be relaxed, their rights will be protected,” Mutko said during the Moscow press conference, according to Reuters. “But of course you have to respect the laws of the country you are in.”

Advertisement
FUND LGBTQ JOURNALISM
SIGN UP FOR E-BLAST

Local

No new mpox cases reported in Md., Va., and D.C.

Federal, local authorities continue to encourage vaccination

Published

on

A D.C. Department of Health mpox fact sheet at Trade in D.C. on May 25, 2023. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Public health officials in Maryland, Virginia and D.C. have not issued mpox advisories ahead of Pride month.

The Maryland Department of Health notes there were no reported new positive mpox cases reported in the state during the week of May 21. 

There were no reported new reported mpox cases in Virginia between May 21-27. The D.C. Department of Health on its website notes the last new mpox case in the nation’s capital was reported during the week of May 11.

“MDH (the Maryland Department of Health) has not issued any advisories for mpox,” Maryland Department of Health spokesperson Chase Cook told the Washington Blade on May 25. “We are still monitoring case counts and urging Marylanders at risk to protect themselves.”

“The Health Department is launching a statewide Pride-related sexual health campaign and working closely with festival organizers and local health departments to ensure health resources, including but not limited to mpox, are part of Pride events across the state,” added Cook.

Brandy Darby, the director of the Virginia Department of Health’s Office of Epidemiology’s Division of Surveillance and Investigation, largely echoed Cook.

“The Virginia Department of Health continues to promote mpox awareness and share prevention messages with groups at greater risk of exposure,” Darby told the Blade. “We are sharing these messages through print materials, social media, media interviews, healthcare provider offices and community-based organizations. Additionally, our local health departments are encouraged to have a presence at Pride events within their communities this summer to offer mpox education and vaccination.”

The D.C. Department of Health has yet to respond to the Blade’s request for comment. Its website, however, contains information about mpox, transmission, prevention and vaccinations.

CDC issued mpox advisory on May 15

The World Health Organization on May 11 announced it no longer considers mpox a global emergency.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on May 15 issued a mpox advisory after the Chicago Department of Public Health reported 12 new confirmed cases between April 17-May 5. 

“Spring and summer season in 2023 could lead to a resurgence of mpox as people gather for festivals and other events,” reads the advisory. “The purpose of this Health Alert Network (HAN) Health Update is to inform clinicians and public health agencies about the potential for new clusters or outbreaks of mpox cases and to provide resources on clinical evaluation, treatment, vaccination and testing.”

“To help prevent a renewed outbreak during the spring and summer months, CDC is urging clinicians to be on alert for new cases of mpox and to encourage vaccination for people at risk,” it adds. “If mpox is suspected, test even if the patient was previously vaccinated or had mpox. Clinicians should also refamiliarize themselves with mpox symptomsspecimen collectionlaboratory testing procedures and treatment options.”

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health earlier this month urged groups at increased risk for mpox to get fully vaccinated ahead of Pride month.

Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, the deputy coordinator for the White House’s national mpox response, on told reporters during a May 18 telebriefing that federal health agencies are working with state and local officials to offer vaccinations and implement prevention measures during Pride events. 

Continue Reading

Arts & Entertainment

Washington Blade, Dupont Underground spotlight D.C. LGBTQ Changemakers with new exhibit

‘The Ground We Stand On’ highlights 25 queer pioneers during Pride month

Published

on

The Washington Blade and Dupont Underground present “The Ground We Stand On: Past and Present DC LGBTQ Changemakers,” a new exhibit that highlights D.C. LGBTQ pioneers.

The exhibit, featuring 25 changemakers will be on view beginning Friday, June 2, through Sunday, June 25.

The inspiring exhibition will showcase the remarkable journeys of both past and present changemakers who have left an indelible mark on the tapestry of Washington, D.C. The exhibit underscores the enduring legacy of these remarkable individuals, serving as an inspiration for present and future generations. 

The exhibition opens on June 2 at 5 p.m., where all the living honorees will be present for the opening  reception, followed by Drag Underground starting at 8:30 p.m., featuring some of the best Drag Queens in DC such as Shi-Queeta Lee, Cake Pop, Jane Saw, and Destiny B Childs.

“By shining a light on their remarkable contributions, this exhibition aims to empower and encourage the continuous evolution of the D.C. LGBTQ+ community and its influence that transcends boundaries,” said Stephen Rutgers, director of Sales and Marketing for the Washington Blade.

“We are thrilled to highlight so many living changemakers who will visit us for opening night, and to honor the memories and work of those changemakers who are no longer with us,” said Ana Harvey, Dupont Underground CEO.

For more information about Dupont Underground, visit www.dupontunderground.org

Continue Reading

Delaware

Carper’s retirement opens historic possibilities in Delaware

Blunt Rochester likely to run for Senate; McBride could become first out trans member of Congress

Published

on

Sen. Tom Carper announced plans to retire last week. (Photo public domain)

As Delaware governor, he signed a bill that defined marriage as being between a man and a woman in 1996. Now, 27 years later, the Human Rights Campaign gives Sen. Tom Carper a perfect score on LGBTQ issues in Congress. 

That man, who turned from opponent of marriage equality to LGBTQ rights supporter, announced his retirement last week. Unlike other Senate races across the country, though, there is little doubt who will succeed him. 

He endorsed Delaware’s lone representative in the House, Lisa Blunt Rochester, as his successor in a news conference last week.  

“I spoke with her this morning, I said, ‘You’ve been patient, waiting for me to get out of the way, and I’m going to get out of the way, and I hope you run, and I hope you’ll let me support you in that mission,’” he said with a laugh. “And she said, ‘Yes I will let you support me.’ And so I’m going to.’”

Carper plans to serve out the remainder of his term, which ends in 2024. He serves as chair of the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee. Previously, he was chair of the Homeland Security Committee. He served as Delaware’s governor from 1993-2001 and represented Delaware in the House. 

The Human Rights Campaign has given Blunt Rochester a perfect score in the last two congresses, and an almost perfect one in the 2017-2018 congress based on her voting record on LGBTQ issues. It did not respond to a phone call and two emails to spokespeople but praised her and Carper in 2018.

 “Every time they take the train down to Washington, Senator Carper and Congresswoman Blunt Rochester carry with them the hopes of all Delawareans,” the organization wrote in a press release. “With the LGBTQ community under attack by the Trump-Pence administration, Senator Carper and Congresswoman Blunt Rochester have tirelessly fought to defend our progress and advance equality for LGBTQ people both in Delaware and around the nation.”

Blunt Rochester would be the first Black person and first woman to represent Delaware in the Senate. She has close ties to Delaware’s LGBTQ community and a record as a strong ally. She has served as keynote speaker at the Washington Blade’s annual Summer Kickoff Party in Rehoboth Beach three times, thrilling the LGBTQ crowd with her passionate support for equality.

She said she is “interested” in running, but neither she nor her spokesperson reached last week would say any more. 

“I don’t have a bad thing to say about her,” said longtime LGBTQ activist and Delaware lawyer Mark Purpura. It was responsible of Carper to retire, he added. 

Assuming she runs as expected, that would leave Blunt Rochester’s seat in the House open. Sarah McBride, the first openly transgender state senator in the U.S., could fill that seat. A source familiar with her thinking said she will “100%” run for Rochester’s seat. 

That would make her the first openly transgender member of Congress. Her run would be a “great opportunity” to showcase the Delaware Democratic Party’s diversity,” Purpura said. 

Peter Schott, secretary of the Delaware Stonewall PAC, agreed, noting that McBride is very popular and can raise a lot of money. 

McBride, who did not respond to an email and two calls to her office, is one of five openly LGBTQ lawmakers in the Delaware Legislature, a record number for the state.

“I think Sarah is absolutely wonderful,” said colleague Eric Morrison, a gay man who represents parts of Newark and other communities in his 27th district in the Delaware House. “I wish her well.”

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Sign Up for Weekly E-Blast

Follow Us @washblade

Advertisement

Popular