- December 2022
Brittney Griner is coming home. Finally. The lesbian Phoenix Mercury star was released from Russian custody in a one-for-one prisoner swap.
While the circumstances aren't perfect—Russia refused to include another incarcerated American in the deal, for instance—Griner will be back with her family after a nine-month trip through hell as a political pawn.
I'm so relieved. And during the upcoming WNBA season, I'm sure I'll be downright pleased when Griner leads the Mercury to victory over my team, the Seattle Storm.
As long as it happens only once.
Image by Victoria Model from Pixabay
It seems unlikely to me that you needed another reason to hate Russian President Vladimir Putin.
But he provided one yesterday. Though his full-time occupation is attempting to cripple Ukraine, he managed to find a few moments to sign expanded anti-LGBTQ laws. He's a whiz at despotic time management.
A 2013 law had banned the dissemination of LGBTQ-related information to children. Now "LGBT propaganda" can't be disseminated to adults, which will effectively eradicate all public signs that queer people exist in Russia.
Any action or the spreading of any information that could be considered as promoting homosexuality in public, online, in movies, books or ads is viewed as "LGBT propaganda," and those found guilty will receive whopping fines.
It's all part of an effort by Putin's government to quash opposition, free speech and Western values. Between that and sanctions and all the battle casualties Russia is suffering thanks to Putin's fevered imperial dreams, Moscow these days must have all the charm of week-old borscht.
- October 2022
Image by ProsaClouds from Pixabay
A Moscow appeals court today upheld WNBA star Brittney Griner's long-even-by-Russian-standards sentence for bringing medicinal hashish oil into the country. Since the Kremlin has refused to do a deal until the legal formalities were completed, we can fervently hope that now the time has come at last for Russia and the U.S. to swap prisoners.
Griner has played basketball against the best in the world. Never could she have imagined that her fiercest opponent would be a pasty, balding 70-year-old who can't go left.
- August 2022
So there we have it. A Russian court has sentenced Brittney Griner to 9 1⁄2 years in prison for bringing less than a gram of cannabis oil into the country.
That ends Act 1 of this Russian drama. Act 2, the Prisoner Swap, follows an intermission.
I prefer Chekhov.
- July 2022
Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay
The number one female tennis player in Russia, Daria Kasatkina, recently came out as gay. She also criticized Russia's war on Ukraine.
All Kasatkina has to do now is laugh at Vladimir Putin's topless photos and the man will open a gulag just for her.
Image by Stefan Keller from Pixabay
Thursday offered a bizarre juxtaposition. Two wildly successful lesbian American athletes, two starkly different lots.
Soccer superstar Megan Rapinoe went to the White House to receive the Medal of Freedom from President Joe Biden.
Basketball superstar Brittney Griner went to a Russian court to plead guilty on drug charges.
Rapinoe's fiancée attended the White House ceremony.
Griner held a photo of her wife as she entered the Russian court.
After the ceremony, Rapinoe flew to Mexico to rejoin the American national team, who celebrated her.
After the hearing, Griner returned to her jail cell, where, at best, assorted insects kicked up their heels.
At the White House, Rapinoe's white suit had Griner's initials stitched into the lapel, linking the two women on a day that Alfred Hitchcock might've directed and Rod Serling should've introduced.
- May 2022
There's an unconfirmed report that Russia hopes to trade American basketball star Brittney Griner for an arms trafficker serving a 25-year sentence in the U.S.
In a simpler time, I only imagined Griner being traded for a forward, a point guard and two draft picks.
- March 2022
Elvira Schemur, a Ukrainian LGBTQ activist, was "one of the first Pride volunteers to join the Kharkiv regional defense," a fellow Ukrainian queer activist tweeted yesterday.
Schemur was volunteering at a regional administration building in the city on March 1 when it was hit by a Russian missile. She died at the age of 21.
Is it wrong to dream of Vladimir Putin being pushed into a vat of boiling borscht?
The Moscow Times, an English-language newspaper out of Russia, posted this startling headline yesterday: "Russian Church Leader Appears to Blame Gay Pride Parades for Ukraine War."
Uh huh. And COVID-19 is all Tinky Winky's fault.
Multiple outlets are reporting that American basketball star Brittney Griner has been arrested in Russia on charges of illegally bringing drugs into the country. Apparently customs officers discovered hash oil in her luggage at the Moscow airport in February.
Now there are questions galore, most notably, has Griner been in jail all this time?
It could be that the African American lesbian is about to find herself a Russian bargaining chip. It feels strange to call someone who's 6-foot-9 an international "pawn."
Image by Mary Bettini Blank from Pixabay
You've heard how Russian invaders have been targeting the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv. According to reports, that didn't go well for one group of Russian soldiers.
It's unclear whether these soldiers were AWOL or avoiding Ukrainian resistance or what, but they tried to hide in the basement of a building. It turned out their hiding place was the office of the local LGBTQ organization, some of whose members discovered, beat and captured the Russians.
I'd like to think that instead of beating them I'd have forced them to pay a month's rent and wear glitter, but who can say?
The source of this story is Viktor Pilipanko, a Ukrainian LGBTQ rights activist and veteran who just rejoined the army. "This is our war, the Ukrainians, but we have also been fighting as LGBTQ people, and I'm sure that the comrades in Kharkiv understood that," said Pilipanko. "We are confronting a tyrannical, homophobic enemy."
That's certainly true. While life for queers in Ukraine is no picnic, it's better than Russia, where a certain shirtless leader's toxic masculinity and political desires have led to queer repression. The U.S. revealed that Russia's "kill list" of Ukrainians includes a number of LGBTQ people.
LGBTQ Ukrainians are fighting for their country and their lives. They couldn't be more inspired if Cher promised to sing to them in the trenches.
- February 2022
Yet again, it's our fault. How do we live with ourselves?
According to Media Matters, right-wing media figures are having a fine old time pinning the Russian invasion of Ukraine on queers. If your head hurts trying to make the connection, I'll do it for you. Now that I've taken ibuprofen.
President Joe Biden's repeal of the ban on trans soldiers, along with the military's diversity training and general "wokeness," have all combined to weaken American forces to the point where Russian President Vladimir Putin saw his chance to invade Russia's neighbor.
On a Fox News show, Pete Hegseth claimed Americans have been "running around talking about genders and reparations," so "as a result, [Putin] thinks this is his moment to make an aggressive move."
Fox contributor Lisa Boothe tweeted, "America is weak. No one is afraid of us with dementia man in the White House and our focus is flying pride flags around the world."
Matt Walsh of the Daily Wire podcast said it was "not a coincidence that this has happened after Biden spent his first year in office focusing primarily on wokeness and intentionally making our military weaker and more feminine." He later added that Biden was attempting to “fill our military with lesbians who can’t do three pushups."
I wouldn't want to be Walsh when some lesbian sergeant challenges him to a pushup contest.
So thanks to integrating LGBTQ people into the military, American forces have been neutered, and Putin took advantage.
As these rightist talking heads blame us for the invasion, Christian fundamentalists, our usual accusers, haven't joined in.
Maybe they're just mad they didn't think of it first.
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