Leading up to the Winter Olympics in Sochi, LGBT rights in Russia have been a hot debate and a source of outrage for people around the world.
But how are members of the LGBT community treated in Russia?
Human Rights Watch (HRW) has released a disturbing video that shows just the kind of vicious attacks and aggressive harassment that members of the LGBT community have faced in Russia.
The government isn't doing much to stop it. In fact, the abuse is taking place in the context of the government's homophobic legislation, which bans the promotion of "non-traditional" sexuality to minors. Groups like Occupy Pedophilia use the pretext of protecting children by fighting pedophilia to justify harassing members of the LGBT community.
These clips show disturbing, dehumanizing, physical abuse of gay men, who are humiliated further when their attackers post the videos on social media.
HRW's video emphasizes the utter failure of Russian authorities to prosecute hate crimes against LGBT people. The government's propaganda law only inflates this type of harassment and implies that gay people are second-class citizens.
As a host nation for the Olympics, Russia should be embarrassed. I wonder why there isn't more outrage over LGBT discrimination. No countries are boycotting the event. Only German President Joachim Gauck and French President Francois Hollande have boycotted the games. Obama, while not boycotting the games, will not attend either – which some say is more about security rather than human rights.
It's no secret that huge, international events are big moneymakers for the countries that host them. It's shameful that Russia turns a blind eye to such human rights violations, and the international community should hold them accountable for it.