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Author: qpeitz

Joined: 8/8/2013
Posts: 4
Traveler Since: 2009

August 08, 2013

Two nights ago, President Obama was interviewed on the Tonight Show on NBC TV and Jay Leno made the following remarks "I mean, this seems like Germany," Leno said, "let's round up the Jews, let's round up the gays, let's round up the blacks. I mean, it starts with that. You round up people you don't ____ I mean, why is not more of the world outraged at this." President Obama agreed and said there is no excuse for this behavior from Russia.

RUSSIA IS NOT A PLACE MY PARTNER OR I WILL GO. And, we are frequent travelers wth GCT. They recently passed new laws against the GLBT community making it illegal for any expressions or jestures that may in the slightest way be perceived as homosexual. And, this includes foreigners. The next winter Olympics is in Russia and rest assure gay and lesbian athletes will make it WELL known their displeasure of these laws.

Many members of the GLBT are beginning to boycott travel to Russia and goods exported from Russia. We would hope you would consider this as well. Google this information and do your own research. This issue is only getting worse.

Quinn Peitz/James Keim

Author: sealionlady

Joined: 8/1/2010
Posts: 110
Traveler Since: 2001

August 08, 2013

 The "Russia Revealed" trip was on my list until they passed these horrible laws.  How sad ..... and how very ugly.  

Author: gaynell

Joined: 8/12/2010
Posts: 135
Traveler Since: 2005

August 08, 2013

But if we were to boycott travel to every country which has laws we disagree with, there are very few countries where we could travel. Some issues are governed by laws and others by the dominant culture or religion.

Are you boycotting Japan because you disagree with eating whale meat? Are you boycotting many areas of the Middle East and Africa because you are horrified by female circumcision? Are you skipping China because of their policies regarding dissidents, or their one child policy?  Want to skip visiting the Middle Eastern countries where honor killings are prevalent? Child labor laws are non-existant or unenforced in many places in South and Central America; what about those countries? If you are strongly vegeterian, maybe you don't want to go to countries where meat is eaten....Oh, wait, that's the USA.

Perhaps a better way is to set an example. Innundate Russia with gay and lesbian travelers, and show both the Russian people and the Russian Government that those travelers are mostly kind, intelligent, likeable, well-behaved, educated, healthy, trustworthy people who are not all that different from everyone else!

 

Author: qpeitz

Joined: 8/8/2013
Posts: 4
Traveler Since: 2009

August 09, 2013

Thanks for your comments. You have made some very good points. However, what people eat or how they harm others are behavioral aspects of a country/tribe/religion. And those arguements have been used for years against the GLBT community. Change your behavior and you will change, i.e become "straight". The planet is changing and even though being gay/lesbian has been taboo through most of human history it is now being recognized as an inherent characteristic that cannot be altered or changed. These laws in Russia, a developed country for the most part, are deliberate and may be driven by political agendas more than isolated cultural beliefs.

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 958
Countries Visited:

England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Malta, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, China, Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Canada, Russia, Ukraine

Traveler Since: 1999

August 09, 2013

I've already traveled to Russia before these laws were passed, and I enjoyed the trip, but I wouldn't go now.  There are a lot of places in the world I won't visit and spend my money, places where I wouldn't feel welcome.  That's not a boycott; it's my own personal decision.  But the OP is correct in his choice.  In his case, it might be a matter of his own safety.  These current laws only reflect the Russian culture.

Author: pj100350

Joined: 8/9/2013
Posts: 1
Traveler Since: 2005

August 09, 2013

I will have to agree that this not a place I would travel now.  The world is changing for the better now as far as the gay community goes.  This ruling is taking them back too many years.  Instead of moving forward in a positive roll, Russia is moving in an ill fated direction.  I am speaking as a woman and I am not gay.  But I support my many gay friends 100%.  This is like taking the rights of women away after gaining our freedoms.  I would certainly boycott the Olympics as well over this matter.  Being gay is not a choice, just like being a male or female.  It is not like a religion that you choose to become part of.  I don't expect everyone to agree, only those who hold no bigotry will see it in the right light. 

I would also like to note, that I have taken many, many trips (8 or 9) with this company and this will reflect my future plans. 

Author: janice!

Joined: 3/18/2010
Posts: 274
Countries Visited:

many

Traveler Since: 1999

August 09, 2013

Living in a state which recently legalized same-sex marriage, this seems to me like a huge step backwards. Is this a new policy there or just made more public?

Unfortunately, boycotting leisure travel to Russia will not likely change the government's position on this issue. But it will negatively impact Russian citizens whose livelihood depends on tourism.

Author: qpeitz

Joined: 8/8/2013
Posts: 4
Traveler Since: 2009

August 09, 2013

Hi Janice,

This is a NEW policy in Russia which affects both citizens and foreigners. Yes, boycotts are controversial and can negatively affect people who may not support these new laws. However, this is a health and safety issue for gay and lesbian travelers like ourselves and whether we would be detained or jailed if we made ANY expressions or jestures deemed by the authorities as inappropriate.

James Keim/Quinn Peitz

Author: tomnat

Joined: 6/4/2010
Posts: 71
Traveler Since: 2004

August 12, 2013

 We went to Ukraine & Russia in 2012, before this new "no gay propanda" law was passed in June 2013. 

In general, with so many places to left to experience, we choose not to go to countries that are currently unsafe, e.g. Egypt, Syria, Turkey??, or have laws that could entrap us, e.g. Russia, since we could be detained if we were perceived to make a pro-gay comment, even though we are straight.

We cannot understand why Russia would pass such a law 7 months before hosting the winter Olympics. So we would suggest not rewarding countries, that put your travel enjoyment & safety at risk.

Author: luisa

Joined: 3/13/2010
Posts: 511
Countries Visited:

Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Canada, Mexico, Spain, France, Monoco, Croatia, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, Chile, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji

Traveler Since: 2006

August 12, 2013

According to the New York Times : "An overwhelming 88 percent of Russians support the gay propaganda ban, according to a survey conducted in June by the All-Russian Public Opinion Center."

It's ignorance, and the best possible behavior would not help if an American tourist was suspected of being gay.

It is a safety problem, which is more serious than the loss of tourist dollars.

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 958
Countries Visited:

England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Malta, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, China, Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Canada, Russia, Ukraine

Traveler Since: 1999

August 12, 2013

If those numbers are correct, then it definitely would not be a safe place for anyone suspected of being gay or lesbian.  And it might not be the police who would zero in on anyone, tourist or not.  It could be an ordinary Russian citizen who feels this prejudice and feels he/she has the right to physically attack someone.  If they support this crazy step backwards, let them do without our tourist dollars.  There are plenty of other places to travel.

Author: suepoor1234

Joined: 7/20/2011
Posts: 38
Countries Visited:

All the states except Hawaii; east and west Canada, all of Western Europe(except Iceland and Greenland); the Baltics and Scandanavia; Belarus, Poland, Ukraine; Russia; Turkey, Jordan and Israel; China, Mongolia, and Tibet; Egypt, Morocco, Tanzania; Mexico, Costa Rica, Guatamala, El Salvador; Ecuador, Galapagos Islands, Peru, Argentina; Australia and New Zealand; Antarctica.

Traveler Since: 2007

August 13, 2013

Perhaps Putin fears the "gay American Olympians" will outshine his Russian athletes....??? Remember that Hitler preached superiority of the Aryan race but Jesse Owens dominated track in Munich in 1936.  Putin struts around bare-chested and is photographed in "manly" pursuits (hunting, fishing, etc.) and he has just divorced his long-time wife  -- perhaps he "doth protest too much." 

 

Author: luisa

Joined: 3/13/2010
Posts: 511
Countries Visited:

Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Canada, Mexico, Spain, France, Monoco, Croatia, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, Chile, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji

Traveler Since: 2006

Author: patmckinney

Joined: 3/11/2010
Posts: 50
Countries Visited:

29 countries

Traveler Since: 2009

August 13, 2013

when we travel we try to leave our political and social views behind.  We do our best to avoid any discussions that could possibly turn into a political or politically correct confrontation.  I was hoping that by now GCT would had taken this whole topic off of the travel forum.

Maybe my comment will be the straw that broke the camel's back and that will happen.

 

How many of you who are decrying what Russia is doing are so quick to get your bags packed so you can visit Communist Cuba or Communist China? 

Why is this LGBT thing a topic?  If you are gay and you are afraid of being imprisoned in Siberia, then don't go.  I won't go to Cuba because they are killing and imprisoning people of my faith.  Maybe I should start a new topic for saying that "CUBA IS NOT A PLACE FOR CHRISTIANS".

What good does all this accomplish?  Let's leave this forum for travel tips and questions and leave the politically charged views out of this.

Author: gaynell

Joined: 8/12/2010
Posts: 135
Traveler Since: 2005

August 14, 2013

Pat, I hope you do start your thread entitled "Cuba is Not the Place for Christians."  Then we can all discuss the factual information and our various views about that subject!  The purpose of a forum is DISCUSSION, and this one allows all topics having to do with travel. Whether or not one chooses to go to Russia right now is definitely related to the subject of travel.

We do not all have to agree with each other on each subject, as long as we are civil to one another and present our various views without lowering ourselves to name calling or meanness. I think I made it plain to the original poster that I did not agree with him, in a respectful way, and he, in turn, answered in a very civil manner. We can exchange ideas with each other, and each of us can make up his or her own mind about where we stand on various issues.

True, much of the talk here is about travel hints: what to bring, how to dress, problem solving, transportation, animal sightings, itineraries, money, weather, etc. Those topics are useful and necessary, and I love having those resources when I am taking a particular trip, as well as helping others when they have a question about a country I have already been to. But some of the forum's more serious topics have been the genesis of some interesting conversations around our house, and I don't mind having more serious subjects brought up at all. Those who don't want to read those posts can easily skip them; just go on to the next post.

 

Author: rosebud

Joined: 3/16/2013
Posts: 8
Countries Visited:

Peru, Ecuador, the Amazon, Galapagos Islands, Machu Pichu, Patagonia, Argentina, Costa RIca, Sea of Cortez, Jamaica, Bahamas, Virgin Islands, Bermuda, Hawaii, Alaska, Canada (Lake Louise, Banff, Jasper, Toronto, Windsor), Spain, England, the Baltics (Tallin, St. Petersburg, Copenhagen, Oslo, Stockholm, Helsinki, Berlin), Amsterdam, Italy, Greece, Egypt, Israel, Kenya, Namibia, China, New Zealand, Bhutan, Nepal

Traveler Since: 2007

August 14, 2013

 I agree with gaynell that this forum provides a place to discuss ALL aspects of travel, and whether to visit a country with repugnant policies is a travel issue. Consequently, I hope that OAT/GCT retains this thread and others like this one.

I am not a lesbian, rather a married woman with children and grandchildren. But, my status, or that of anyone else, is not the point. While I vehemently oppose the new Russian gay/lesbian policy, I view it not just an attack on that segment of our society, but rather an attack on freedom. By deliberately including something as nebulous as "gestures" in its anti-gay law, Russia pointedly announced to the world that it controls every aspect of those who are on its soil whether they are citizens or visitors, and that it can exert this control at its whim. If you choose to visit Russia despite this policy, be careful what you say, how you say it and to whom you say it.  An innocent hand movement can be used against you under this law even if you are a heterosexual grandmother like me, and proving otherwise in this repressive country would be no easy task.           

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 958
Countries Visited:

England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Malta, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, China, Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Canada, Russia, Ukraine

Traveler Since: 1999

August 14, 2013

I do so agree with Gaynell and Rosebud.  There's more to deciding on a destination than food, clothes and weather.  And an open discussion is what we're all about, isn't it?

Pauline

Author: luisa

Joined: 3/13/2010
Posts: 511
Countries Visited:

Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Canada, Mexico, Spain, France, Monoco, Croatia, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, Chile, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji

Traveler Since: 2006

August 14, 2013

And I agree with Gaynell, Rosebud and Pauline.

Wasn't there a thread recently that offended someone and they called GCT? And GCT let it play out.

There has been nothing offensive in this thread; a few people have expressed their differences respectfully, a good example for us all.

Author: nancyf

Joined: 4/26/2010
Posts: 155
Countries Visited:

43 of the 50 United States, including Hawaii and Alaska, England , France , Italy , Spain, Germany, Netherlands, Africa (Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe. South Africa), Israel, Canada, the Carribbean, Peru, going to Egypt & Jordan in February 2011 ( canceled due to the unrest there, but I will take this trip later!), China, Russia, Kenya, Turkey, Greece, Malta, Sicily.

Traveler Since: 2007

August 15, 2013

Agree with those saying let the discussion play out. If someone doesn't want to read it, it's like if you don't like what's on the TV channel or radio station, then change the channel or station and not listen. If you don't like the discussion, don't read it.......but then again, the First Amendment guarantees our right to free speech, except in some conditions (like don't yell Fire in a theatre, etc. unless there really is one..........). I am a single straight female (grandmother!!) who travels, sometimes, with my female friends. We don't hold hands or anything, but we have always wondered (and don't care) if some have thought we were lesbians. What if some in Russia thought we were? I don't know the solution here for anyone, but why can't we just all be tolerant and less judgmental??

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 958
Countries Visited:

England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Malta, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, China, Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Canada, Russia, Ukraine

Traveler Since: 1999

August 16, 2013

I was just remembering an occasion on a trip when someone asked my friend and me "how long we had been together."  He may have meant how long we'd been traveling together, but that's not the way it came out.  Not judgemental, and we laughed about it.  But now, thinking of that, I wonder how many women (or men) traveling together do sometimes give some people that impression.  It would certainly create a risk in countries where people are quick to look for things to find fault with.

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