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January 25, 2013

Anti-Gay Riot: Passion Overflows at Moscow “Kiss-In”

What I was wondering is why this photo, in particular, has been circulating so prominently with the story of the gay rights “kiss in” in Moscow being violently disrupted by homophobes? (Caption below.) My guess is because of its similarity to the scene just before:

Did someone say strange bedfellows?

(Photos: Ivan Sekretarev/AP. caption 1: An Orthodox activist, right, reacts with a gay rights campaigner, during a protest outside of State Duma, Russian Parliament’s lower chamber, in downtown Moscow, Russia, on Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013. A federal law banning “homosexual propaganda” has been submitted to the Duma late last year and hailed by officials and Russia’s dominant Orthodox Church.  caption 2 (1st sentence): Gay rights campaigners kiss each other during a protest outside of State Duma, Russian Parliament’s lower chamber, in downtown Moscow, Russia, on Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013.)

  • Stifledgenius

    I’m gonna go out on a limb and say the best way of announcing to the world that you’re anti-gay is to avoid getting caught in pictures that make it look your trying to mouth rape a gay guy.

  • Scarabus

    I read the post as presented, photos first and then captions. Looking at the top photo, I saw a gay activist on the right trying to kiss a straight guy, and the latter trying (without riot-worthy violence) to avoid the kiss. The caption offers a 180 degree opposite reading:

    “An Orthodox activist, right, [interacts] with a gay rights campaigner…”

    Presumably that means a Russian Orthodox anti-gay religiously straight man is trying aggressively to mouth-kiss a gay man, and the latter is defensively resisting. (Your title, Michael, at least partially echoes this reading.)

    However, as Stifledgenius says, that makes no sense. I mean, a man is going to show his adamant hostility toward intimate sexuality between two men by giving an intimately sexual mouth-kiss to a man? “Methinks the [gentleman] doth protest too much”? And in a very odd way?

    How about this: Two photos of a kiss-in. Bottom photo? Gay persons kiss eagerly responsive fellow gay persons of their same sex. Top photo? Gay person tries aggressively to kiss adamantly resistant straight person of his same sex. That pairing of images would mean a lot — but it wouldn’t mean what the caption writer suggests.

    Hope others will share their readings!

    • black_dog_barking

      I too was confused by the first image. I finally wrote it off as some inscrutable hard-to-apprehend cultural thing. Read somewhere that Russians have a word for urine stains on the front of one’s pants, an artifact of massive vodka consumption, extreme cold, and stepping outside to relieve one’s self — and brutally long winters. Seems an extremely different milieu from the Puritan guilt-steeped culture from which I observe the universe … so, who knows?

  • Scarabus

    Ah, you’re right. Hard to bridge gaps in age, sex, culture, etc., isn’t it. Speaking of age, your mentioning urine stains reminds me how differently I see Gregory Corso’s poem “Marriage” now as opposed to when I first read it, decades ago.

    Relevant lines:

    …what if I’m 60 years old …
    all alone in a furnished room with pee stains on my underwear ….

    I first read those lines about age 24-25. Now, at age 70 (with a 70 year old prostate!), I read them quite differently. :-)

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